By Maddy Lauria
Posted Oct. 31, 2013 @ 11:47 am
Milford recently received a donation of $300,000 in solar panels, equipment and installation to be used toward the city’s in-house energy resources.
PSEG Solar Source, the owner of the PSEG Milford Solar Farm, donated 700 solar panels while juwi solar, Inc., (JSI) of Boulder, Colo., the company contracted to build the PSEG Milford Solar Farm donated the inverters, the ground-mounted racking system, the project fence and the balance of the electrical equipment, said JSI spokeswoman Jennifer Schwager.
The panels began generating electricity on Oct. 25, and will produce an estimated 76,000 kilowatts each year. Similar to the panels currently in operation at the PSEG Milford Solar Farm, they have a life expectancy of about 30 years.
JSI donated the equipment to Milford as part of its desire to recognize the importance of promoting healthy and sustainable living, Schwager said.
“Although our primary objective at JSI is to develop, build and operate large-scale photovoltaic solar facilities throughout North America, we recognize our social responsibility to promote a healthy and sustainable way of life for the cities and communities in which we conduct our business,” Schwager said. “This donation and installation serves as an example of how smaller-scale solar projects can be implemented in communities like the City of Milford, providing both educational benefits and clean, reliable energy.”
During a regular City Council meeting on Sept. 23, City Manager Richard Carmean said he expects that, with in-house power produced by solar energy, over time the city should realize a savings of approximately $200,000.
“The electric will go back into the system and it will help reduce costs. When you look at our entire electric package and output, this is a very small percentage, but it’s something,” Carmean said during a phone interview on Tuesday.
While there are no employees specifically trained in solar energy within the city’s electric department, employees will be able to monitor the electric outputs and consult a meter to make sure the panels are functioning at capacity. A service truck will visit the site once monthly for maintenance, Carmean said during the council meeting.
The installation of the panels was at no cost to the city, and maintenance is also minimal, Carmean said during the meeting. However, any repairs or future work will have to be contracted to either JSI or another company if needed.
“I think it’s nice to be able to say we are generating some of our power in house,” Carmean said.