In an effort to save electric costs, the city of Boonville's sewer works is moving to solar power.
During their Board of Works meeting last week, city officials awarded a bid of $882,990.27 to Casey Electric to install a solar field, for a total project cost of $1.7 million. Boonville City Engineer Clint Roos said the other part of that $1.7 million went towards purchasing materials.
"The city procured the PV modules, PV inverters, PV optimizers and PV monitoring equipment earlier last year at considerable savings," said Boonville City Mayor Charlie Wyatt.
The Boonville City Council chose Casey Electric from Tell City as the lowest out of five bids total to build the solar field.
"I have reached out and checked their references and they are licensed to do solar work in 25 states," Roos said. "They have installed upwards of ten mega watt solar fields plants, so they are definitely qualified."
Wyatt said the project, which is being funded as part of the Sewer Works Bond Anticipation Notes Series 2016, will end up saving the city six million over the next thirty years.
"A savings of over $6 million in today's dollars will help to keep our sewer costs and rates lower for Boonville sewer customers in the future," he said.
The new solar field will be installed south of the Boonville sewer works off of Millersburg road. "The project will include all site grading and draining work, electric work, racking and foundation work necessary for the completion and commissioning of the project," Wyatt said.
Wyatt said the city will save upwards of $17,000 a month in electricity costs once the switch to solar is officially made. "The savings is set up for 30 years through a net metering agreement with Vectren," he said. "What the city can generate in solar polar will be saved on Vectren's grid and used later when it is needed."
Wyatt said the project includes installing a 618.80 KW (DC) array serving an existing switchgear.
"The PV modules further consists of 1,904 Tier 1 PV modules and 14 high energy utility interactive inverter switches," he said, "which will interconnect with the existing distribution system."
Roos said the project is not starting for at least another month, due to weather-related issues.
"Unfortunately the soils are pretty rough right now with the warm weather in the winter," he said. "So it's kind of tough to estimate. If the weather stays this way, we might be pushed towards April. These above warmer temperatures are not ideal for beginning work on a project like this."
Wyatt said the solar field, which has been one of his major goals since he first took his oath of office nearly three years ago, is not only a win for the city, but for its residents.
"I am just tickled that we can do this for our citizens and save money," he said.