In an attempt to be more energy efficient, the City of Delaware has installed 54 solar panels that will serve its new refuse and recycling building at the Public Works Facility located at 440 E. William St.
According to Community Affairs Coordinator Lee Yoakum, the new building would have cost about $17,000 per year to power. By utilizing solar energy, Yoakum said the city expects to save around $5,000 to $6,000 per year on electricity.
“It is a goal of the city whenever we look at the new construction of city facilities to see if there is a way to incorporate energy efficiency,” Yoakum said.
The cost to install the panels totaled $87,000, and with the money saved each year on the electric bill, Yoakum expects the panels to pay for themselves in about 15 years. Yoakum added the panels will be under warranty through that time, so any maintenance that may be required will be at minimal cost to the city.
“We will continue to look for ways to use solar energy, but at the same time, we want to make sure that it makes financial sense,” Yoakum stated. “We felt that with this array, the cost fit into our thinking that we could pay it off within a decent amount of time, with the equipment still being under warranty. It made sense to do it.”
Yoakum added the city has just replaced six more electric school zone flasher signals with solar-powered units, bringing the total number of signals around the city powered by the sun to 11. Preliminary discussions have also been held regarding the city potentially purchasing an electric vehicle for City Hall use. Yoakum said one particular issue would be the absence of charging stations around Delaware.
The new refuse and recycling building, which is still receiving some finishing touches, encompasses 27,000 square feet and cost the city $2 million to construct. Funds used for the build came from the city’s refuse fund. In addition to being powered by solar energy, the building features translucent panels along the sides that will permit natural light, reducing the need for generated lighting.
With all of the city’s public works departments utilizing the same space in the existing buildings since 2007, Yoakum said the new addition will allow for more accessibility and efficiency among the different departments. The Parks and Recreation Department will also be moving out to the William Street location with space now freeing up.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.