The City of Healdsburg completed a 4.78 megawatt solar array on the recycled-water treatment ponds in January 2021 at its Wastewater Treatment Facility a few miles west of Healdsburg. The project provides 8 percent of the City's energy needs as well as cuts harmful algae bloom on the ponds, improving the quality of water for local vineyards and farms, which use the recycled water.
The Electric Department connected its first photovoltaic system in 2002 and today has over 5.67 MW of solar PV interconnected in city limits. The Electric Department has facilitated this with its distribution of over $830,000 in solar incentives to our customers. NOTE: The City’s SB1 solar rebate program is now closed.
The project also helps Healdsburg’s publicly owned utility to meet the State of California’s environmental sustainability requirements and climate goals. Healdsburg’s electric utility must continuously add renewable and carbon-free energy. In 2025, our electric power must be at least 50 percent renewable. In 2030, that requirement increases to 60 percent.
These climate policies help ensure clean power for all ratepayers. Given the need for shade and new renewable energy, the floating solar project provides an important co-benefit to City operations, recycled-water customers, and the community.
Healdsburg’s Wastewater Treatment Facility is a state-of-the-art tertiary treatment system processing raw sewage into clean and disinfected recycled water. This water is stored in large thermoplastic-lined ponds and conveyed through pipelines for agricultural users, thus reducing demand for precious groundwater. Algae blooms on the containment ponds on hot summer days so the ponds require shade to reduce algae growth and ensure the highest quality recycled water. Healdsburg staff conceived the project with the support of the Northern California Power Agency.
The contract was awarded to Dissigno in June 2020 and construction began in October 2020. Through collaboration with Dissigno, White Pine, and Collins Electric, the City moved this project from contract award to interconnection in the same year. The project was contracted as a Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”). The solar developer paid for the entire project and owns the array. The City simply pays a fair market price for the electricity delivered to our system. One important benefit of a PPA is that it allows the solar developer to apply for federal tax incentives that governmental entities are not eligible for, and in turn, cuts Healdsburg’s cost for energy.
Power Content Label
The annual Power Content Label provides a breakdown of the types of electricity generated and supplied to Healdsburg Electric. In 2019, about 62.3% of electricity was carbon free and renewable.
Healdsburg Electric Department owns generation plants throughout Northern California. These generation plants include a geothermal plant at the Geysers, the Calaveras Hydro Project, and hydroelectric power contracts with the Western Area Power Administration.