Officials at yesterday's ceremony with solar panels in the background. Officials at yesterday's ceremony with solar panels in the background.

Solar sewer plant is a first in Latin America

Nogales system gets all its electricity from solar power

A wastewater treatment plant in Nogales, Sonora, is the first in Latin America to operate with clean energy.


Los Alisos, which treats 220 liters of sewage per second, now obtains all the electricity needed to operate from an array of 3,900 photovoltaic cells installed in an area of 15,000 square meters.

A federal government representative said yesterday at an inauguration ceremony for the 960-kilowatt system that it would reduce maintenance and operating costs by 70%. Francisco Muñiz pointed out that that was a significant issue for it meant that unlike many other plants in Mexico, it will be able to operate continuously, not having to shut down for lack of operating funds.

The project was a bilateral one. Also on hand yesterday were representatives from the United States, which put up 8.2% of the 82.8-million-peso investment (US $4.4 million) through the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Mexican government provided 35% and the state of Sonora 39%.

The U.S. was also involved in the construction of the plant, which began operating in 2012, by helping with its 238-million-peso cost. It was announced yesterday that plans are going ahead to boost the capacity to 330 liters per second.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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