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The solar installations, which will consist of almost 3,400 panels, are part of a broader $14.5-million energy retrofit and renewable energy program designed to decrease utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions tied to city-owned facilities and infrastructure. The program will help the city meet the environmental commitments it adopted as part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. It is also expected to create or sustain more than 80 jobs; this includes work for several local contractors Honeywell hired to help complete the upgrades.
The energy improvements are projected to reduce electricity consumption by an estimated 2.8-million kilowatt-hours per year - enough energy to power more than 260 homes annually. The program will also decrease carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 4.4-million pounds each year.
The city will pay for the entire program from the energy savings the upgrades produce. Honeywell guarantees approximately $1.14 million in savings per year under a 20-year performance contract so the work will not increase city operating budgets or require additional taxpayer dollars. In addition, the improvements are expected to generate $16 million in savings above the guaranteed amount over the course of the contract.
Wilmington will use more than $9.5 million from a low-interest ARRA stimulus loan through the Delaware Division of Public Health’s Office of Drinking Water and an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the Department of Energy to help finance the program at the outset.
“This program enables our city to move forward more rapidly with our environmental commitments, improve critical infrastructure, and create jobs with no impact on our budget,” said Wilmington Mayor James Baker. “Working with Honeywell, we were able to extend our stimulus funds and develop a comprehensive program that will reduce utility bills and carbon emissions, and benefit residents for years to come.”
The first solar array, one of several additions to the city’s Porter Reservoir Filtration Plant, is expected to generate 650,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually and cover nearly 25 percent of the load at the plant. Honeywell will construct a second, roof-mounted array at the Public Works Yard and Municipal Complex, which will add 300,000 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy. This array will be financed by a Clean Renewable Energy Bond from the Department of Treasury.
Along with the solar installations, Honeywell put in a booster pumping station that increases the available capacity of the Porter Reservoir from 4-million to 30-million gallons. The increased capacity will allow the city to draw from the reservoir during the day and shift most of its raw water pumping to off-peak hours when utility rates are low. Honeywell also helped the city negotiate new rates to drive further savings.
Additional work under the program included converting city traffic lights to more efficient and luminous light-emitting diode (LED) technology, and upgrading lighting and HVAC controls and equipment in 11 Public Works and Public Safety Department facilities.
“Maximizing stimulus funding through performance contracts can be a powerful tool in meeting environmental goals and reducing long-term costs,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. “Honeywell has a long track record of helping municipalities like Wilmington find the right mix of energy supply and conservation measures that will not only deliver environmental benefits, but also improve the bottom line.”
Honeywell expects to complete all the conservation measures this year. The company and city officials are also planning a second phase of improvements and are currently developing a renewable energy and bio-solids facility for Wilmington’s wastewater treatment plant.
For more information, visit www.honeywell.com/buildingsolutions.
Publication date: 03/15/2010