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Funkstown officials to explore building solar panels near wastewater treatment plant

June 11, 2012

Funkstown officials agreed to explore the possibility of getting solar panels built near the town’s wastewater treatment plant, a project that could reduce the town’s electrical costs for the plant.

At Mayor Paul N. Crampton Jr.’s request, Phil Kelly with Millennium 3 Energy made a presentation during Monday night’s Town Council meeting about a possible solar panel project.

Kelly said the town would not pay for installation of the solar panels, but would reap the lower cost of electricity than what the town is paying Potomac Edison. Investors would be sought to pay for and own the solar panel installation, which would be eligible for grant funding, tax benefits and revenue from renewable energy credits, he said.

Crampton said the solar panels could generate power for the wastewater plant and substations.

Kelly estimated that 1,150 panels would be needed and could be installed atop one of the town’s former sewage treatment lagoons near the plant. The lagoon would need to be filled, a cost that was not included in Kelly’s projected electrical savings for the town.

Kelly provided one scenario in which the town could save $10,000 a year in operating costs.

Councilman Richard Gaver said he wanted to see the town move forward with exploring the project.

The council voted 5-0 to explore the project, with Crampton saying he would find out what it would cost to fill the lagoon to make it level so it could support a solar panel installation.

Councilman John Phillips III was absent from the town meeting.

— Julie E. Greene

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