Situated just outside of Quartzite, Arizona, a remote area off the power grid, is the Q-Mountain project site that serves a small residential community of approximately 470 residents. With the nearest power source too far away to make it economically feasible to run the water well on the power grid supply, the water system depends on generators.
In July 2023, CWS began operating the Q Mountain site for Central States Water Resources (CSWR). The generator-powered system immediately proved to be a challenge. The generator itself was old and temperamental. According to the CWS team, “The antiquated generator produced no alarms to let the Operator know it had shut down. They wouldn’t know until they received a call that the water pressure was low.”
“The ground storage tanks (GSTs) are located in the community about ¾ of a mile down the road, but while they do have High Tide monitoring systems, the Operator would have to physically sit there and watch the High Tide monitor to be able to catch when the generator would shut down. Then he would head out to the site and try to figure out how to get it going again,” they said.
After several months of operating like this, CSWR installed a solar system to run two of the wells and power the High Tide system. But after a few weeks of running the system on solar power, the team discovered that the solar system batteries would drain about two hours after sunset. Two additional batteries were then installed to provide nearly 8 hours of additional run time after sunset.
CSWR was quoted a price of $700,000 to have grid power run to the site. Alternately, they were quoted $120,000 for the initial solar project and an additional $15,000 for the two batteries. This alternative power source saved them a lot of money.
CWS currently operates another site in Arizona that also does not have access to grid power. This system provides water to approximately 90 homes in a very remote area. CSWR is currently considering installing a solar system in this area to help with the system operation and provide constant, sustainable service to the community.