City moving forward with 2 solar energy projects

Published 5:06 am Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Albert Lea City Council on Monday voted to move forward with solar energy projects at both the wastewater treatment plant and city arena as presented by Apex Solutions of Coon Rapids.

The council entered into a guaranteed energy-saving agreement for both sites with the company, which evaluated the projects and found them to be feasible.

At the arena, the solar energy system would be put on the arena roof. Estimated cost is about $652,000, with federal incentives covering about $195,000.

Email newsletter signup

City Manager Ian Rigg said the project guarantees an annual utility savings of about $22,800 for a simple payback of 20 years with the federal incentives.

He said in optimal conditions the solar energy at the arena would produce 208 kilowatts, or 21% of the arena’s current electrical use.

At the wastewater treatment plant, the solar panels would be constructed over two acres for a cost of about $1.3 million, with federal incentives covering about $394,000.

Rigg said the payback for this project has been determined to be 15.3 years with the federal incentives.

The solar field at this site would produce about 475 kilowatts in optimal conditions.

Rigg said they considered having a larger site and then selling back the energy, but the study did not justify making it larger.

The city manager said the panels should last at least 25 years and produce a good amount of energy even after 20 years.