Middletown calling it a victory for the local economy and environment!
City officials praised the installation of a 714-panel solar array to help off-set the effects of the “single largest energy hog in the city” – its water treatment plant. These solar panels, installed June 2018 by Greenskies Renewable Energy, are projected to save the city 280,000 kilowatts of electricity per year.
“This is an important project, especially now with people conserving more and more water, and the demand for water is trending downward. Without this project, we would eventually need to raise rates. It will produce clean water using less electricity from the grid, which, in turn, helps stabilize water rates we charge customers,” said Joe Fazzino, acting director of Middletown Water & Sewer.
The solar array, installed at the Higby water treatment plant on the Middletown line, are projected to power 75-85 percent of facility’s electricity usage.
Many were delighted that the city enlisted a Middletown-based small business to complete the project including State Sennator Len Suzio and R-Meriden. Greenskies, which paid for the system and installation, are selling the power produced to Middletown at a discounted rate over the next 20 years, as per their contract. This firm has also installed solar arrays on the roof of the city-owned R.M. Keating Historical Enterprise Park on Johnson Street where its office is based.
The project is estimated to save the city $9,00 annually in electricity costs, greatly reducing the environmental effects of burning fossil fuels. Emission rates are expected to be one tenth of the previous total output at the water treatment plant. This project, which had been in the making for about 6 years. It was started in late fall of 2017 and completed in the spring of 2018 according to the vice president of construction at Greenskies, John Beauton.
In Connecticut, as well as other parts of the northeast, peak solar months are July through September when the sun’s elevation is lower and there is less sunlight, mentioned Beauton. In the winter months, output is low due to the concentrated snowfall, particularly January and February, he added.
Jeff Hush, member of the city’s Clean Energy Task Force, represents low-income interests on the panel. Comfortable, Healthy, Energy Efficient and Renewable Middletown, dubbed CHEER, is a collaboration between the task force, North End Action Team, Home Energy Services, New England Conservation Services, Sunlight Solar and others which hopes to lessen the city’s dependence on fossil fuels. The task force is increasing it’s efforts to improve housing costs for low- and middle-income communities in Middletown, who carry an energy burden disproportionate to their household income.
“With the solar project, we are able to produce clean, potable water using less electricity from the grid,” said Acting Water and Sewer Director Joseph Fazzino. “This is a very important project, especially now with people conserving more and more water, the demand for water is trending downward. Without this project we would eventually need to raise rates, so this will help us stabilize our water rates. Nobody really likes to have their water rates going up.”