Burbank Water and Power now has an additional $1.5 million for its smart meter ambitions, adding to the already substantial $20-million pool for the project.

After being one of just a handful of cities nationwide to receive a $20-million federal stimulus grant for smart grid infrastructure last year, the utility was awarded a $1-million grant from the California Energy Commission and $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Burbank Water and Power was selected by the California Energy Commission for its planned solar panel project. The utility will be partnering with RayDyne Energy in Austin, Texas, to develop and operate concentrated solar photovoltaic systems to generate electrical power.

No air or water pollution is generated in the process, officials said.

"This is a newer solar technology with a totally different design," said Jeanette Meyer, marketing manager for Burbank Water and Power. "Using the same amount of space, we will be able to produce more energy."

Burbank Water and Power will partner with 700 city households with swimming pools to test a two-year energy efficiency program focused on shifting demand loads from peak to off-peak periods.

Burbank residents with pools will have the opportunity to volunteer for the program that will send them information in real-time on how to reduce energy use.

"We will be able to track how energy is used in the households through each circuit, whether it's the refrigerator or the pool pump," Meyer said.

Once utility officials have the information, they will be able to send recommendations for cutting down on energy use to customers via text message or e-mail.

"If we are able to reduce energy during peak hours when it is more expensive to procure, we can keep costs down and reduce impacts to rate payers," she said.

The original $20-million grant will help for the installation of smart meters that track real-time water and electricity use by Burbank residents through a network of wireless communication systems, advanced meters and collection systems.

The meters will help customers conserve by showing the energy they consume on a daily basis.

The two new grants will help add more detail to the information Burbank Water and Power provides to its customers, enabling more energy saving measures to save money and benefit the environment.

"We could not be more thrilled about these opportunities," Ron Davis, general manager of Burbank Water and Power, said in a release. "The grants will appreciably help Burbank Water and Power in creating energy and water sustainability in Burbank."

Smart-grid technology could also reduce electricity consumption by more than 4% by 2030, according to the Electric Power Research Institute.