KLWTD Solar Energy Project
November 17, 2021
The Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District is nearing completion of installation of its solar energy projects. The Board approved moving forward with installation of the solar arrays at its facilities. Then-Commissioner Steve Gibbs was a strong supporter of the KLWTD solar energy projects. The FDEP Stewardship grant program provided funding for the solar projects.
Phase 1 of the KLWTD solar project was placed into service in August of 2019. Phase 1 consisted of installation of solar arrays at the Wastewater Treatment Plant above the disinfection basin and on the roof of the Operations building. This project consisted of 334 solar panels with an output of 112 kWp.
Phase 2 of the solar project includes additional solar arrays at the WWTP and at the Administration Building. This phase includes installation of a total of 1,016 panels with a total output of 356 kWp. Solar panels at the WWTP will be installed in the large retention area, on a carport structure and on the roofs of the remaining 3 building roofs. The WWTP portion of the Phase 2 project will be completed before the end of December 2021. Phase 2 also includes solar panels to be installed on the roof of the Administration Building and will consist of 57 panels with an output of 20 kWp. The Administration Building solar installation is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.
Phase 3 of the project includes installation of solar arrays at the District’s 5 full-size vacuum pump stations. There is a total of 502 panels installed on the roofs of the vacuum station buildings and on a shade structure at Vacuum Station I. The combined output of the vacuum stations solar arrays is 173 kWp. The vacuum stations solar arrays were completed and placed into service in October 2021.
With a total output of 661 kWp, the KLWTD solar output will be greater than any other installation in the Keys, including the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative and Keys Energy Services. Using the current cost of power, it is anticipated that an annual savings of approximately $71,000 will be realized. The solar array above the disinfection basin also provides shade, reducing the amount of chlorine needed and saving an additional $13,000 annually for a total savings of $84,000 per year. The useful life of the solar panels is estimated to be 40 years and over that time the savings realized by the District will be in excess of $3.5 M.
Public Service Announcement
Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District needs your cooperation to protect the wastewater system particularly now due to the current COVID-19 outbreak. People are cleaning and disinfecting more frequently with bleach wipes and potentially substituting other items for toilet paper, such as baby wipes and paper towels.
KLWTD is asking customers to throw these items in the trash, not flush them down the toilet. These items do not break down in the sewer system and can cause significant clogs that could lead to equipment failures and treatment plant issues.
It is important to only dispose of toilet paper and human waste in the toilet. Otherwise, it can cause costly clogs or back-ups in your sewer system.
Here is a list of items that should never be flushed down the toilet:
Disposable wipes (even if marked “flushable”)
Grease / Oils
Feminine hygiene products
Cotton Swabs / Cotton Balls
Medicines / Vitamins
Cigarettes / Cigar butts
For more information on this topic please check out this article from the Environment, Health, and Safety website. Enviro Managers and Water Departments Urge Public not to Flush Wipes
Safety Training Incentive Program
Chris Kittelson, of Preferred Governmental Insurance Trust presented the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District with a $5,000 check on Friday, October 19th, as part of an annual Matching Incentive Training Program. The District was reimbursed for specialized training courses that employees attend monthly, and other safety related expenses.