Southern California water district contracts ENGIE NA to build and operate solar-storage-genset microgrid

Nov. 4, 2021
YVWD’s program is expected to save $73 million over the life of the program and the water district will receive nearly $7 million dollars in incentives

ENGIE North America will provide a custom-built solar-storage microgrid for a California municipal water district situated in a fire-prone region.

The Yucaipa Valley Water District board of directors approved the contract with ENGIE to deliver a hybrid system powering both the Yucaipa Valley Regional Water Filtration Facility and the Henry N. Wochholz Regional Water Recycling Facility. Yucaipa Valley Water District is in San Bernardino County.

The combined project includes 7.4 MW of solar, a 3.3 MW/13 MWh energy storage system, and 3.2 MW of natural gas gensets and microgrid controllers. YVWD’s program is expected to save $73 million over the life of the program and the water district will receive nearly $7 million dollars in incentives under California’s Self Generation Incentive Program.

ENGIE North America, a wing of the French-based energy firm ENGIE, will build, own, and operate the systems as well as sell energy and energy services through a 28-year power purchase agreement with a fixed price.

“With so many challenging events facing our community including fire and drought, our District is at the forefront of proactive problem-solving,” said General Manager Joseph Zoba from Yucaipa Valley Water District. “It is time for a more integrated approach to address the challenges and opportunities of the water-energy nexus. Maintaining the reliability and resilience of our energy and water systems is the key to long-term sustainability and our overall success. The YVWD depends on uninterrupted power 24/7 to conduct mission critical operations. This project not only allows critical facilities to remain operational if there is a grid outage but also reduces our carbon footprint.”

The YVWD manages more than 220 miles of drinking water pipelines, and provides a combination of water, sewer, and recycled water connections to over 22,000 ratepayers in the Inland Empire. The program will greatly improve the District’s capacity to serve residents and keep rates stable while hedging against rising energy costs. The program is designed to meet the district’s long-term resiliency goals and ensure safe, reliable power to the District’s key facilities during public safety power shutoff (PSPS) events.

In Yucaipa Valley, a historically fire-prone region of southern California, the community has seen an increase in risks, managing fires nearly every two years.

About the Author

EnergyTech Staff

Rod Walton is senior editor for He has spent 14 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist.

Walton formerly was energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World. Later, he spent six years covering the electricity power sector for Pennwell and Clarion Events. He joined Endeavor and EnergyTech in November 2021.

He can be reached at [email protected]

EnergyTech is focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.