Sun powers Palisade water plant

A new solar energy system is expected to generate enough electricity to meet power demands at the Town of Palisade water treatment plant.

The 78-kilowatt photovoltaic system should generate 100 percent of the current kilowatt hour consumption at the plant.

Sunsense Solar based in Carbondale provided technical design services for the system and also assisted with completing the required agreements between the town and Xcel Energy.

A financing company provided the equipment and funding for the system, taking advantage of federal tax credits and accelerated depreciation of equipment unavailable to the town since its a government entity that doesn’t pay taxes.

Rather than purchase power from Xcel Energy, the Town of Palisade will make monthly lease payments to the financing company. At the end of a 10-year lease contract, the town will be able to purchase the system at a reduced price.

The town will receive 10 cents from Xcel Energy for every kilowatt hour the system produces over a 20-year period. The system is warrantied to generate electricity for 25 years.

In addition to the savings associated with lower electricity costs, the system offers a cleaner source of energy. Compared to electricity produced at a coal-fired power plant, the solar system will account for the equivalent of a more than 2,800-ton reduction in carbon dioxide emissions over the 25-year life span of the system.