In an effort to cut costs, the city of Boonville is moving to include the addition of solar panels in progressing sewer upgrades.
The city of Boonville has been working to gain approval to install solar panels at the sewer plant. Mayor Charlie Wyatt said the addition would save the city more than $16,000 a month.
"It will help keep sewer prices down," Wyatt said.
Recently, the city passed a sewer bond ordinance to raise sewer rates. The change raised bills by just more than $11. Wyatt said the city put off the rate increase as long as they could, but have to continue to raise rates based on the costs. He said implementing the use of solar panels will cut expenses and allow the city to keep rates lower.
"No one wants a rate increase," he said. "This keeps the system healthy."
Wyatt said the cost for the panels is included in the $8.7 million bond already being used in upgrades at the plant. He said the city decided to change the plans for the upgrades to include the panels in the project.
"We were shopping around looking at what could happen," he said.
Wyatt said the addition of solar panels could save the city at least $1 million in only five years. He said he believes the money saved will more than pay for the panels and the cost to install them.
The city has made an application with Vectren to include the panels as an electric utility at the plant. Wyatt said the city will potentially apply to include solar panels at the wells for Warrick County water located in Spencer County in the future.
"We're trying to do things smarter," Wyatt said.