After watching its energy costs rise by 41% over the last two years, the Sewerage Commission-Oroville Region (SCOR) wastewater treatment plant has tapped Sun Power & Geothermal Energy, San Rafael, Calif., to install a 520KW solar power system on its site. The solar array, which will go online in November, will provide enough electricity to treat 80% of the wastewater that passes through the facility, making the SCOR plant the first in the country to be primarily power by solar energy.

The array will employ PV panels set on dual-tilt supports that are manually tilted up in the fall and down in the spring to maximize exposure to sunlight throughout the year for greater power-gathering efficiency. The SCOR’s board hopes that with the new system the plant can gain independence from the grid during daylight hours.

The plant serves 15,000 families and numerous industries in the greater Oroville area north of Sacramento, Calif., treating nearly 1.2 billion gallons of wastewater annually.