Council studying two solar projects - Seymour Tribune

BROWNSTOWN — The town council continues look at reducing the town’s energy consumption with a couple of projects with estimated price tags of $1.7 to $1.8 million to be started and perhaps completed sometime in the coming year.

The work to be financed by the town would include replacing 71 non-LED streetlights with LEDs and powering the wastewater treatment plant with solar panels. Solar Motion Sensor Light

Council studying two solar projects - Seymour Tribune

Both are areas included in a state program that allows communities to complete guaranteed energy savings projects. The premise of the work program is to allow municipalities to spend the money they are presently paying for streetlights and powering buildings more efficiently.

Rick Anderson with Veregy, formerly known as Johnson-Melloh Solutions, in Indianapolis recently presented the town council with a couple of ways to deal with the aging 71 streetlights along Main Street.

The first option involves the town to continue leasing the streetlights from Duke Energy, Anderson said.

With that option, Duke Energy would switch the 71 streetlights to LED at a cost of about $538,589. The utility would continue to own those 71 lights and another 233 it owns in town, and the town would continue to pay monthly charges and maintenance costs.

The town could replace the fixtures with LED lighting themselves, but that would be a pretty expensive proposal, and the lights would still belong to Duke, Anderson said.

The second proposal would involve the town replacing the streetlights with decorative non-grid tied solar streetlamps resulting in no ongoing energy bill with Duke.

“You guys would be very unique in that fact,” Anderson said. “There’s not a lot of decorative around town kind of lights that are owned by a utility, so the nice part about this is some ways when you pay for them, you’re getting off the grid. We’ve been talking about this energy independence thing. I’ve been preaching that to people, but this is potentially your opportunity to get off Duke for that part of it.”

The town would still have to pay Duke for the other operation and maintenace of the 233 streetslights in town, Anderson said.

He suggested the council might install one decorative solar streetlight as kind of a test to see what it might look like.

A proposed solar array would offset about 40% of the energy costs of operating the wastewater treatment plant.

“That’s your biggest energy hog down there,” Anderson said.

This year, energy rates went up about 20% this last time around.

Anderson said the federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 also provides a pretty big chunk of funds ($348,942).

“That would be a check you would get back from the federal government,” he said.

That check would come in the year after the project is complete, which would be in 2024 if Brownstown could start and finish its project this coming year.

“That’s a one-time check from the federal government,” Anderson said.

The total estimated project cost to be financed for the first streetlight option would be $1,712,000, while the second would be $1,868,000.

Anderson said the estimated project costs are likely high.

The estimated 20-year savings would be $2,339,399 for the first proposal and $2,616,816 for the second.

The council plans to meet for a work session with Anderson at 5 p.m. Jan. 3 to discuss the projects. The council’s regular meeting would be at 6 p.m. that day.

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Council studying two solar projects - Seymour Tribune

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