LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The Metropolitan Water District’s (MWD) board of directors has voted to invest $6.76 million to develop a 1-megawatt solar power generating facility on six acres at the district’s Joseph Jensen Water Treatment Plant in Granada Hills.

The solar installation is expected to produce 2.3 million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable energy a year, enough to power about 325 homes, according to the MWD.

As part of decision on Tuesday, Aug. 16, Metropolitan’s board also awarded a $4.88 million contract to Riverside-based Sol Construction Co. to construct the solar facility. Construction is slated to begin next month, with plans to start up the solar plant in late 2017.

Under the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Solar Incentive Program, the project will be eligible for about $1.4 million in rebates if it begins operating by the end of next year.

“This project is another clear example of a much larger strategy that merges the needs of the environment and those of the economy,” said Metropolitan board Chairman Randy Record.

“We need water for our homes and industries, yet we need to supply it in a sustainable way,” he said. “Converting our treatment plants to run more on solar power marks another milestone in our movement toward environmental sustainability.”

Jensen is Metropolitan’s largest treatment plant and the largest west of the Mississippi River, with the ability to treat up to 750 million gallons of water per day. The plant serves Ventura County, the San Fernando Valley, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica and the Palos Verde Peninsula.

Energy generated at the Jensen facility will help offset retail electricity costs and reduce operational costs, while providing a hedge against future volatility in the price of electricity, according to MWD General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger.

“As the effects from climate change become more evident, we need to continue exploring clean-energy solutions like this solar project in order to help assure water reliability throughout the Southland,” he said.

The Jensen project is the district’s fourth major investment in solar power. Along with the Weymouth project, Metropolitan has solar facilities at the district’s Robert A. Skinner Water Treatment Plant and at the Diamond Valley Lake Visitor Center in Riverside County.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 19 million people in six counties.