The Beaver Dam Common Council Monday night approved a plan to power two city-owned buildings with solar. 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 Beaver Dam 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 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 is roughly $220-thousand dollars but there are private benefactors that will 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. The common council last night approved paying the upfront cost of $250 to cover the financing charges for the third party who is purchasing the green energy items. Mayor Becky Glewen says the plan is expected to save the city $4000 in year one and – if the panels are purchased by the city in seven years – a total of $800-thousand dollars over 25 years. The solar panels must be in place by November or the city would lose the grant dollars.