Aqua America Completes Fourth Solar Farm to Power Water Treatment Facilities

February 8, 2012
By

BRYN MAWR, Pa., Feb 08, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) —
Aqua America, Inc.


/quotes/zigman/338819/quotes/nls/wtr WTR
+0.36%



Chief Financial Officer David P. Smeltzer
said its utility operations are making deliberate steps into the
alternative energy arena having recently completed a fourth solar
installation to power as many water treatment facilities. Smeltzer’s
remarks were made in Philadelphia yesterday at the 19th
Annual Emerald Groundhog Day Investment Forum sponsored by Emerald
Asset Management.

“Our investment in solar makes perfect sense for us because we are such
heavy consumers of electricity. Next to labor, it’s our greatest
expense,” said Smeltzer.

Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc. (Aqua) recently completed construction of the
latest installation–1.5 megawatt (MW) solar farm located on 6.5 acres of
ground at the site of Aqua’s Pickering water treatment plant in
Schuylkill Township, Chester County. The farm, which will help power
Aqua’s largest water treatment facility, is expected to reduce Aqua’s
grid-tied usage by 2.2 million kilowatts (kW) annually resulting in a
direct economic benefit of $250,000 each year in avoided energy costs in
2012. Aqua’s first solar facility was constructed in 2009 at its
Ingram’s Mill water treatment plant in East Bradford Township, Chester
County. The 1 MW farm was built on 4.5 acres of land and has reduced
grid-tied usage by 1.3 million kilowatt-hours during the past 12 months
resulting in a direct economic benefit of $130,000 annually in energy
savings.

Late last year, Aqua America’s New Jersey subsidiary constructed two
solar farms at treatment facilities in Lopatcong Township, Warren County
and in Gloucester Township, Camden County. The 0.4 MW facility in
Lopatcong powers the company’s ultraviolet light water treatment plant
and is expected to save the company more than $72,000 in electricity
costs. The smaller 0.07MW solar farm in Gloucester Township powers a
well station where it is expected to achieve approximately $13,000
annually in electricity savings. Collectively, the New Jersey solar
facilities offset the need for 940 barrels of oil annually, or avoid the
equivalent of 926,000 car miles each year, or reduces CO2
emissions by 885,000 pounds annually.

All four projects alleviate congestion on the PJM grid resulting in
additional savings to all consumers by reducing line losses and
congestion charges during daytime hours. Aqua Pennsylvania is one of the
largest producers of solar power in Pennsylvania and is the largest
water utility producer of solar energy in the Commonwealth.

“We buy electricity at night when demand is lowest, which reduces our
costs. During the day when pricing is highest and need is greatest, we
reduce our dependency on the grid at the Pickering facility and get off
the grid at the other three facilities,” said Smeltzer. “We produce
enough power to sell some back to the grid during optimum periods. Our
cost savings benefit Aqua customers because the expense savings are
passed on to customers. Our usage savings benefit other electricity
consumers overall because the excess power we sell back to the grid
helps keeps pricing down for everyone.”

“Additionally, there is an environmental benefit because we are
producing power with greatly reduced emissions, which shrinks our carbon
footprint and helps lower the need for the construction of new power
generation facilities,” said Smeltzer.

Aqua America is one of the largest U.S.-based, publicly-traded water
utilities and serves almost 3 million residents in Pennsylvania, Ohio,
North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana, New York, Florida,
Virginia, and Georgia. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock
Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR.

WTRG

SOURCE: Aqua America, Inc.


        
        Aqua America, Inc. 
        Donna Alston 
        Director, Communications 
        610-645-1095 
        [email protected] 
        or 
        Gretchen Toner 
        Manager, Strategic Communications 
        610-645-1175 
        [email protected]
        


Copyright Business Wire 2012

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