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Solar Panels Will Provide Electricity to Newtown Plant

Silent and beautiful, the solar panels will eventually pay for themselves.

 

On Tuesday, there was a ribbon cutting for the brand-new solar panels that will supply 30% of the energy needed to run the waste water plant on Commerce Road. 

The solar panels look like a solid reflective river that stretches into the distance, and the silent energy they are producing is almost palpable.  The panels are on a single axis rotation, and follow the sun east to west each day, 365 days a year, even in cloudy weather. 

The panels run on about 100 kilwatts of self generated energy.  Over the course of a year, the waste water treatment plant uses 587,520 kwh.  These panels will now provide 134,520 kwh of free energy to the plant.

According to Robert Tait, the town’s finance director, the cost of the panels were roughly  $500,000.  A Grant funded $325,000, and an additional $175,000 came from the sewer fund.  The amount of money that will be saved on electricity costs will pay for the panels within 10 years.

While there is a small set of on the roof of the Reed school roof, and more are being considered for the middle school, Julio Segarra of the Waste Water Treatment Plant said this set is the largest group of panels in Newtown.

 

Be sure to check back on Monday for a full tour of the Waste Water Treatment Plant. 

John Munro September 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Should help the Chinese economy as most of the panels are made there.
Daniel Patti September 22, 2012 at 12:49 PM
"Silent and beautiful, the solar panels will eventually pay for themselves." Once you take into consideration maintainece, gradual loss of efficiency, and the $325k grant ( aka taxpayer pays the bill ) these solar panels should pay for themselves in about 40 years.
Mr D. September 22, 2012 at 01:26 PM
I did the math for our home and came up with the same 40 year payback period. Even with incentives (which I don't qualify for) it would still be 25 years. However expect costs to keep decreasing. A few years from now the payback will be in the 15-20 years range, which will match the panels' economic life expectancy. That's Moore law at work. In the meantime there are some better energy efficiency investments. My new boiler will pay for itself in 8 years for example.
Paul Alexander September 22, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Solar assisted water heaters are big here in Florida. But solar to generate electricity directly? Nope.
Ray Furse October 03, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Some wrong facts here are making this discussion less than informative. Cost of electricity (demand side) includes delivery charge; it must be valued at avoided costs, probably around .17 per kWh (check with the plant if you want to be more accurate). That puts annual value generated at $22,868, so 21.8 year payback without grant, 14 years with grant, even if the cost of electricity does not go up (and who believes that?). Don't know here the grant came from, if your taxes, go after those politicians, but your City Fathers got you guys a deal, you should say thanks. Mr. Michaud is apparently reading information from the 1970s; today's solar modules have performance warranties; guaranteed 80% performance at 25 years is typical. Our performance warranty is 30 years, but sorry we don't install in Newtown. Best, Ray Furse

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