Whispering Palms Community Services District goes solar

Whispering Palms CSD board
Whispering Palms CSD board members Ed Munsch, Doug Manatt, Bill Haynor, Al Panton and Byron Hanchett snip the ribbon on the new solar panels.
(Karen Billing)

On a sunny March 3 morning, the Whispering Palms Community Service District celebrated the recent completion of a $1.3 million solar installation to offset high energy use at its Water Reclamation Facility off Via De Santa Fe in Rancho Santa Fe.

“This is one of the larger community services district solar installations in San Diego County and we are proud to be able to contribute to the public effort to conserve energy,” said Whispering Palms CSD President Bill Haynor.

Solar panels were installed at the Whispering Palms CSD's treatment plant off Via De Santa Fe.
(Courtesy Baker Electric)

The Whispering Palms Community Services District (CSD) provides wastewater treatment and landscaping in public areas to the Whispering Palms community and other surrounding areas. The district currently serves over 1,400 homes and businesses in a boundary area encompassing over 2,600 acres.

Back in 2019, the five-member Whispering Palms board began to explore ways to mitigate the increasing cost of power needed to run the wastewater treatment plant. According to Haynor, power had become the second-highest cost item on their budget, second only to labor costs. The board sent out a request for proposals and in 2021 selected Baker Electric to install the solar panels at the plant.

According to a news release, the Whispering Palms CSD obtained a 15-year loan at an interest rate of 2.76% to finance the $1,335,000 project. The yearly savings on energy costs are estimated at over $100,000 per year and the yearly cash flow break-even point should occur at year six.

By the end of the project’s 25-year life span, the district estimates it will have saved over $1.8 million in energy costs with clean green energy.