Solar panels on City of Hill buildings and properties will save thousands of dollars in energy costs
Solar panels at the Johnson County Hills Water Treatment Plant. (Courtesy of City of Hills)
Solar panels at Hills Sewer Lagoon. (Courtesy of City of Hills)
Solar panels are pictured on the roof of the Hills Fire Station. (Courtesy of City of Hills)
HILLS – After starting the project last year, the city of Hills, south of Iowa City, has completed installing solar panels on the city’s fire station, community center and office building.
The panels save the city $500 a month in energy. They are projected to save more than $300,000 over the next 25 years, according to Friday’s news release. Average monthly fees now range from $10 to $20 per building.
“The money from the local option sales tax was used for the installation,” Mayor Tim Kemp said in a news release, “and we quickly began to see savings on our energy bills for these three buildings.”
Sales tax revenue also allowed the City of Hills to build a community stage, splash pad and additional playground equipment. Last year, the municipality also launched a ten-year plan to repave all the city’s streets.
Solar panels were also added to the Hills Water Treatment Plant and Hills Sewage Lagoons sites last month thanks to a power purchase agreement with Dubuque-based Eagle Point Solar.
Solar energy projects at the waterworks and sewage lagoons produce 34.7 and 56.7 kilowatt hours, respectively, during peak generation periods. Within a month of installation, the panels have already reduced energy costs between the two locations by more than $2,000.
The panels at the fire station, community center, and office building can produce 12.04, 11.55, and 12.04 kilowatt hours, respectively.
“It’s a win-win for the City, we’ll enjoy lower energy costs while being more environmentally conscious,” Kemp said.
The city did not provide a price for any of the solar panels.
Brittney J. Miller is The Gazette’s environmental reporter and a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on issues that have not been covered.
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