By Jared Stonesifer
Beaver County Times
MONACA — The borough plans on installing 198 solar panels at its reservoir that could produce more than $200,000 worth of electricity over their lifespan.
Borough Manager Mario Leone said the project, which has been in the works for several years, could be up and running by April.
The borough will install the solar panels on the ground and buildings at the reservoir, although it also plans on building a new garage-like structure that will house at least half of the panels.
The panels will cost $150,000 to buy and install, half of which was paid for by a state grant.
Leone said it won’t take long for the panels to make up the cost through savings realized by the efficiency of solar energy.
“We’re looking between a 7 1/2 to nine-year payback on our $75,000 contribution,” he said. “The solar system over 20 years is expected to generate over $200,000 in electricity.”
That number could be higher, Leone said, if the solar panels exceed their typical lifespan of 25 to 30 years.
The solar panel project is just one of several that have led to Monaca being designated a gold-certified municipality in sustainability. The latest solar project means the borough could soon be certified as platinum, Leone said.
“The borough is a leader in sustainability,” he said. “I believe with the installation of the solar panels and other things we’re working on, we will probably achieve that higher standard.”
Another exciting aspect, Leone said, is that the amount of energy generated from the solar panels will be able to be viewed on the borough’s website.
A public hearing will be held Jan. 26, when the project is expected to receive the green light from borough council.
Leone said the panels will take about two weeks to be installed after being delivered.
The panels will generate about 63,000 kilowatt hours annually.