Assistant Director of the Electric Tom Ridgway said the installation of the solar panels is part of a stimulus grant Griffin received from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA). He estimated the panels will be installed in February or March, depending on when they can be secured from the vendor.
“There’s a lot of demand for them right now because of all the stimulus projects going on nationwide,” Ridgway said.
He said the panels will generate electricity without a fuel source and will help offset the operations of the plant.
“They’re photovoltaic, so they’re basically going to turn sunlight into electricity directly,” he said.
This is in contrast to other means of generating solar power, which involve using sunlight to heat oil to generate steam to turn a turbine.
The panels will also give the city an opportunity to study how cost-effective they are and if they should be added to the city’s roster of electricity sources.
Ridgway said the panels were originally supposed to be installed at the solid waste transfer station. However, the water-treatment plant operates 24 hours per day, unlike the transfer station. The power generated by the solar panels will be used to operate equipment at the plant; any power not used will be transferred into the power grid and the city will get credit. More information will be available around Jan. 1, 2011.
Griffin Deputy Director of Water and Wastewater James Beasley said the panels will sit atop a clear well, where treated water is stored prior to being distributed.
On Dec. 14, the Griffin Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to contract with First Century Electric Services LLC for the installation of the panels. The city will pay the invoices and be reimbursed by GEFA. The project will cost $165,067.