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Springfield electrical contractor awarded Deerfield solar contract

DEERFIELD — Soon, water won’t be the only thing that’s considered “clean” at Old Deerfield’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. A new solar energy system is expected to be up and running by the end of the year and will cover about half of the building’s electricity needs.

The Deerfield Board of Selectmen has hired the sole bidder on the project, Springfield-based electrical contractor M.L. Schmitt, to install the array.

“The bid met all of our specifications and it looked like a really good bid,” said Selectman M.A. Swedlund.

The installation will consist of a 35-kW ground-mounted solar panel array and estimated to save the town about $9,000 a year, Swedlund said. She said the system will be owned by the town and require little maintenance.

The plant currently uses about 100,000 kilowatt-hours per year. Energy efficiency retrofits at the plant will save more energy.

The energy produced by the array could power the equivalent of about 10 homes.

According to Swedlund, the whole project will cost $144,000 and will be funded by $6,000 in incentives from utilities, $91,000 of the town’s remaining Green Communities money, a $27,000 clean energy grant for wastewater treatment plants from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, and an additional $20,000 that was set aside to perform energy efficiency upgrades at the plant.

Those upgrades included adding insulation to water storage tanks, replacing doors and windows, installing more efficient motors and retrofitting the plant’s lighting.

Swedlund said the system could be expanded in the future to cover even more of the plant’s energy needs.

“It’s designed to be expanded, and we hope to do so.”

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