Sun saves costs for Edgartown wastewater plant


Installers made final connections to complete work this week on a new solar power system for Edgartown’s wastewater treatment plant.

Contractors put a total of 70 new individual solar panels on south-facing roofs of two treatment buildings. They added eight new panels to the 16 that were already installed on a garage.

The panels are expected to provide enough solar energy to run all the electrical equipment and lighting in the maintenance garage, and offset the cost of electricity in the two treatment buildings.

Plant manager Joe Alosso estimates the solar array will produce 26,470 kilowatts of power each year. At the current price of electricity, the wastewater department will save $4,500 annually. Savings will increase if the cost of conventionally produced electricity rises over the life-cycle of the solar panels.

“It’s not a lot, but it will help reduce our energy load,” Mr. Alosso said. “We’ll use 100 percent of it.”

The state department of energy resources funded the installation with a grant of $122,900. The lowest bid to install solar panels on every bit of available roof space came in at $90,000. Mr. Alosso is talking with state administrators to find other to uses for the remaining $32,900, including an energy project with Edgartown School students.