Whitefish continues to push ahead with plans to put in a photo voltaic panel facility close to its wastewater remedy plant on Monegan Street.
The Metropolis Council throughout a current work session directed metropolis workers to work on an settlement with Flathead Electrical Cooperative for a neighborhood photo voltaic facility that can possible be a set panel system anticipated to supply 200 kilowatts. The power might be managed and maintained by FEC.
New details about the effectivity of the wastewater remedy plant has helped decide that the neighborhood photo voltaic venture can generate roughly one-third of the annual electrical energy wants of the wastewater remedy facility.
In early February 2022, the Council directed metropolis workers to discover this potential venture and create a draft settlement with the FEC. In July, councilors thought-about a further plan to work with the FEC to put in a neighborhood photo voltaic panel array on a 1-acre city-owned property.
Whereas the town supplied the land for the venture, all upfront capital and upkeep prices are the FEC’s accountability, in keeping with Public Works Director Craig Workman.
Beforehand the panels had been anticipated to be bought by people at an estimated value of $1,000 every. A federal tax rebate is on the market for consumers of the panels.
Nonetheless, two federal packages are identified to assist finance the venture and in an effort to apply it, some modifications to the primary proposal had been made. FEC is predicted to use for a USDA Rural Power for America Program grant for about 30% of the venture’s price, roughly $140,000. To use, the venture should first be designed, bid and a contractor chosen. The applying is due on the finish of March.
The FEC can also qualify for the federal authorities’s 30% tax credit score for photo voltaic initiatives underneath the Inflation Discount Act.
With these federal packages, the price of the panel per member is tremendously diminished to between $400 and $700. As a result of federal grant program necessities, FEC will promote the vitality output of the panel, reasonably than the bodily panel.
“It isn’t the precise bodily panel that is being bought, it is the vitality output from the panel,” mentioned metropolis engineer Karin Hilding.
Individuals who purchase panel vitality aren’t eligible for a tax credit score, nevertheless, the vitality produced by the panel is taken as an vitality credit score from the client’s utility invoice over time.
If the town needs to purchase panels, Workman prompt one possibility.
“The wastewater plant is best than they anticipated from an vitality perspective, so I count on $5,000 to $10,000 in further finances that we do not spend on vitality,” Workman mentioned. “We do not know what a panel will price however we predict that can give us about 10 panels.”
The Bonneville Environmental Basis has expressed curiosity in buying some panels and donating them to offset the vitality use of native low-income residents. The FEC will coordinate this program with the Low Revenue Power Help Program operated by the Neighborhood Motion Partnership of Northwest Montana.
The proposed settlement between the town and the FEC is for a 30-year time period and remains to be being negotiated. The panels could possibly be put in this summer time or fall.