Monday evening the Plymouth Common Council was asked to approve an agreement with Telamon to design a solar project for the Wastewater Treatment Facility. 

Plymouth Utility Superintendent Donnie Davidson told Common Council members the $1.6 million dollar project would be located on the ground directly to the east of the plan on Oak Hill Avenue. The solar panels would be pushed all the way north and would use just over half of the field.  The project would pay for itself in 9 to 10 years. 

Jeff Rowe from Baker Tilly told the City Council if the utility undertook the project, it would require a substantial rate increase but there are options available for funding the project.  Potential sources are the American Recovery Plan (ARP) Funds the city is receiving in the amount of $2.25 million, TIF Funds since the city council didn’t move forward with the Veterans Parkway Extension which would have been just over $1 million.  Rowe said while Wastewater does have $6.4 million on hand, they are mandated to have a specific amount readily available. Taking that into consideration there is still $3.7 million but those funds are already earmarked for projects that will happen over the next 5 years. 

Bruce Breeding from Telamon said the solar panels are warrantied for 25 years and typically last 30 to 35 years with basically no maintenance except for mowing under them.  He also said while the project is estimated to be $1.6 million that includes $189,000 for Telamon.  Breeding also presented calculations that showed the city would make a net gain of $3.4 million over the 25th years of the project. 

Breeding said NIPSCO moved up the application date for Net Metering to December 10th instead of June 2022.  This would allow the city to sell extra electricity back to NIPSCO.      The solar project would provide enough electricity to cover the Wastewater’s annual electric utility cost of $ 147,000 and generate enough for the city to sell the extra back to NIPSCO.  

City Attorney Sean Surrisi wasn’t at the meeting but had reviewed the contract and made a few minor revisions which Telamon agreed to.  One being, if the city doesn’t follow through on the completion of the project because the Net Metering application wasn’t approved, or funding couldn’t be obtained the city would only be charged for the services provided to date.

The Plymouth City Council discussed the proposed project and did unanimously approve the agreement with Telamon.  Davidson said they will be meeting with the residents on Freeman Drive to discuss and explain the project.