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Riverside, Calif. – With the help of a Riverside Public Utilities’ (RPU) Custom Energy-Efficiency Technology Grant, the city has put two solar powered aeration units into action that are helping to improve the health and look of the lakes in historic Fairmount Park.

Called a “SolarBee,” each unit is a self-contained solar-powered aeration and circulation device that floats on the surface of the water and is held in place by anchors. They are designed to run 100 percent from solar energy and operate continuously to help improve lake circulation and oxygenation.

“In the past, we’ve had issues with the oxygen levels in Fairmount’s lake systems that have led to fish die offs, algae blooms, and bad odors,” said Riverside Parks Director Ralph Nunez. “With the SolarBees in operation we expect to better address these issues.”

The new state-of-the-art systems, installed in Evans Lake and Fairmount Lake last month, take over the duties of 30-year old bottom aeration systems that tended to clog and have been non-operational for over 6 years. With the improved dissolved oxygen levels the new units create, the lakes’ ecological health will increase promoting healthy fish habitats and additional spawning areas, improved aviary habitats, and eliminating the need for herbicidal chemicals to control troublesome algae growth.

Additionally, the SolarBee systems will save the city more than $2.2 million in energy costs over their 25-year life spans. The city was able to purchase the units by taking advantage of Riverside Public Utilities’ Custom Energy-Efficiency Technology Grant, which provides RPU business electric customers with funding for research, development, and demonstration of energy efficiency projects that are unique to the business or manufacturing process and support the advancement of renewable energy resource technology.

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