Beaver Dam Common Council Will Decide On Solar Power Plan Next Month

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Common Council will consider a plan to power two city-owned buildings with solar at their meeting next month. Last summer, the city was awarded a $10-thousand-dollar grant through the Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation to look into green energy savings. The study revealed that the city spends more than a million dollars a year on energy usage for municipal buildings. Staff began researching ways to save on energy costs while at the same time getting a return on investment. It was learned that switching to LED lightings provides a quick payback and could save in their neighborhood of hundreds-of-thousands of dollars over a five-year period. A plan was also put in place that allowed the city to secure a $62-thousand-dollar solar project grant to place solar panels on top of city hall and the Watermark Community and Senior Center. The cost to install the panels would be roughly $220-thousand dollars but there are private benefactors that would help cover those costs. Philanthropists can take advantage of federal tax credits by paying the up-front cost for the solar panels, or LED lights which can help the city save on energy costs immediately. City Engineering Coordinator Ritchie Piltz explained to the city’s Operations Committee recently there is an upfront cost for the city of $250 to cover the financing charges for the third party who is purchasing the green energy items. Mayor Becky Glewen told the Operations Committee that the plan would save the city $4000 in year one and a total of $800-thousand dollars over 25 years.  The solar panels must be in place by November or the city will lose the grant dollars. The council will consider the solar power plan at their next meeting on August 6.