Solid WasteMarshall County Solid Waste is going solar.

During Monday’s Board of Directors meeting, Executive Director Marianne Peters presented members with three bids to put solar arrays on the property and use the electricity generated to operate the Recycle Depot and the main office building.

Adam Theda a member of the Solid Waste Citizens Advisory Committee and Solar Energy Task Force was on hand to help explain the bids.  Adam has solar at this home and was instrumental on putting several solar projects together at Ancilla.

The three companies; Wellspring Solar, Ag Technologies and Solar Energy Systems presented proposals for the project.  While each bid is slightly different in solar size they are comparable.

Ag Technologies proposed a 21 kilowatt system with 3 arrays at a cost of $55,500.  There would be 72 panels that would provide 100% of the energy needs for Solid Waste and the payback would be 9 years.

Wellspring offered a bid for a 24 kilowatt system with 2 arrays at a cost of $51,068.  This project would be 66 panels that would also provide 100% of the energy needs and the payback would be 13 and a half years.

Solar Energy Systems proposed a 15 kilowatt system with 2 arrays at a cost of $41,304.  The project would have 40 panels and proved 94% of the energy needs for Solid Waste.  Payback would be in 10 to 13 years.

Peters presented information on the NIPSCO bills and utility costs for the past 5 years which showed obvious annual increases.  She said, “Not only have I raised the line item in the budget each year, but I’ve had to transfer additional funds towards the end of the year to meet the need.”   Peters did highlight a reduction in the 2019 NIPSCO bill due to the fact that they changed over to LED lighting.

Peters said, “With the amount of money we have sitting in our rainy day fund I’ve been looking for a project that would use some of those funds to the benefit of Marshall County residents and reduce our costs.”  She went on to say, “We have the land, we have the available funds, it will reduce our utility costs tremendously and serve as an educational tool for people in the county who want to go solar and it’s part of our mission.”

After reviewing the bids submitted the board of director unanimously voted to go with Wellspring Solar at a cost of $51,068.19.  Peters will need to submit an additional appropriation from their Rainy Day Fund to the County Council for approval.  She is hopeful that the project could be completed before the end of the year.