The largest publicly owned solar energy system in Ventura County has been completed.

Located at the Moorpark Wastewater Treatment Plant, the 1.1 megawatt system will produce more than 2,235 megawatt hours annually and will meet 80 percent of the energy needs of the water reclamation facility.

“What that means is, in the future, when Edison increases rates, it will help us to stabilize future sewer rate increases for city of Moorpark residents,” said Reddy Pakala, director of the County of Ventura Water and Sanitation Department.

Funded by the Ventura County Waterworks District No. 1 sewer reserves, the $4.3 million project was designed and constructed by REC Solar. The district will receive $1.6 million as a rebate from Edison, and over time, said Pakala, the project will pay itself back in the form of energy reserves.

On six acres of land, just off Highway 118 between Somis and Moorpark, the 4,000 solar panels that have been erected at the treatment plant will, over a 25-year period, help reduce carbon dioxide emissions equal to more than 85,000 barrels of oil, Pakala explained.

He added that this district already has the lowest sewer rates of the 17 sewer agencies in the county, about $24 per month. The county average, Pakala said is about $44 per month.

The Moorpark Wastewater Treatment Plant also features an observation deck, designed for the public to learn more about the benefits of solar energy.

Ryan Work, business development manager for REC Solar, said Santa Barbara and Ventura County areas have been at the forefront of the solar movement, and he anticipates that more projects of this caliber to break ground in the near future.

REC Solar is currently contracted to build a similarly sized system at the Todd Road Jail facility in Santa Paula.

Water District No.1 supplies water to the city of Moorpark and surrounding areas just outside city limits.