Like all utilities, the City of Tarpon Springs, Florida, is interested in saving money. The City was already earning all available energy discounts, so city engineers began looking at alternative energy technologies that would help cut costs.
The City decided to install a 120 kW AC / 162.62 kW DC solar system at its reverse osmosis facility. The City commissioned solar energy contractor Advanced Green Technologies to lead the design-build project. McKim & Creed was hired by the City to design communications to the inverters and program the Citect SCADA graphical interface and PLC.
For system visibility, the team displayed the solar system status in the plant lobby as well as on the City’s website. That way, residents can see the energy savings from home.
McKim & Creed used an eWon industrial router to produce the website data, and a Dell touchscreen monitor and Raspberry Pi to display the information from the eWon. Using the Raspberry Pi reduced costs and the eWon gave the ability to provide webpage data without needing a full-blown web server.
Weather data from www.OpenWeatherMap.org was added through a process called web scraping. To correlate the energy savings, the team calculated the amount of CO2 emissions, fuel and oil; the number of light bulbs and trees; and the landfill space that can be saved by using solar on a daily, weekly, monthly and lifetime basis.
This water treatment plant solar energy system may potentially save $100,000 annually. The City is considering adding solar to the roof of its reverse osmosis building.