Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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FPUD awards solar energy system support contracts

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Fallbrook Public Utility District has solar energy panels at its administrative headquarters and its wastewater treatment plant, and on Sept. 27 the FPUD board approved support contracts for the solar energy systems.

The 5-0 vote approved a five-year contract for $132,587.88 with Sunpower for support of the wastewater treatment plant system and a five-year contract for $41,145.00 with Baker Electric for the administrative office solar array. The contracts cover preventative maintenance and monitoring.

“The solar panels at the main office and our wastewater treatment plant save us hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in our energy bills,” said FPUD general manager Jack Bebee. “While the actual panels at the plant are still under warranty for another 15 years, the contracts for operations and maintenance of both projects have run their course. These two operations and maintenance contracts help ensure these facilities are optimized and continue to operate without interruption into the future.”

In 2011 FPUD entered into a 10-year operations and maintenance agreement with Sunpower for the solar array at the wastewater treatment plant. The agreement expired on June 30. Because the array runs on proprietary software, FPUD did not undertake the bid process for the wastewater treatment plant support contract. The existence of the software eliminates the cost of that for the treatment plant, and Sunpower’s preventative maintenance fee will be $24,966.00 for the first year and will escalate each year with a fee of $28,099.45 for the fifth year. For any parts replacement the labor rate will be $150 per hour and a 15% markup on materials is included in the contract.

The headquarters did not previously have a support contract. FPUD issued a request for proposals, although Baker Electric provided the only response. FPUD staff reviewed the proposal and deemed it acceptable. The installation of the monitoring software will cost $20,792, the preventative maintenance fee will start at $3,684 and increase annually until the fee for the fifth year is $4,477, and the labor rate for parts will be $145 and hour with a 15% markup on materials.

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