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M.L. Schmitt to install solar array at Old Deerfield wastewater treatment plant



Last modified: Tuesday, August 26, 2014
DEERFIELD — Soon water won’t be the only thing that’s considered “clean” at the Old Deerfield Wastewater Treatment Plant. A new solar energy system is expected to be up and running by the end of the year and will cover about half of the building’s electricity needs.

The Deerfield Select Board has hired the sole bidder on the project, Springfield-based electrical contractor M.L. Schmitt, to install the array.

“The bid met all of our specifications and it looked like a really good bid,” said Select Board member M.A. Swedlund.

The installation will consist of a 35-kilowatt, ground-mounted solar panel array that is estimated to save the town about $9,000 a year, Swedlund said. She said the system will be owned by the town and require little maintenance.

The plant currently uses about 100,000 kWh per year. Energy-efficiency retrofits at the plant will save more energy.

The energy produced by the array could power the equivalent of about 10 homes.

According to Swedlund, the project will cost $144,000 and will be funded by $6,000 in incentives from utilities, $91,000 of the town’s remaining Green Communities money, a $27,000 clean-energy grant for wastewater treatment plants from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, and an additional $20,000 that was set aside to perform energy-efficiency upgrades at the plant.

Those upgrades included adding insulation to water storage tanks, replacing doors and windows, installing more efficient motors and retrofitting the plant’s lighting.

Swedlund said the system could be expanded in the future to cover even more of the plant’s energy needs. “It’s designed to be expanded, and we hope to do so.”