Albert Lea to consider solar for wastewater plant and arena

(ABC 6 News) – The Albert Lea city council will consider designing and installing solar systems for the wastewater treatment plant and the City Arena on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023, according to a statement from the city.

The wastewater treatment plant’s (WWTP) hypothetical solar field would cover two acres near the plant and produce about 475 kilowatts of energy, or about enough energy to for 16 homes, according to estimates from the city of Albert Lea. The system would provide about 12.8% of the current energy usage at the WWTP.

The system would cost about $1.5 million to create, with a $900,000 cost to the city after a $600,000 federal credit.

The plant’s solar system would generate about $70,000 worth of energy in its first year of operation, according to a statement from the city of Albert Lea. According to the city, the WWTP’s energy costs mounted to $459,000 in 2022.

The City Arena, on the other hand, would have its system mounted to the roof, according to the city.

The system would generate about 208 kW of energy, or about 21% of the current energy usage; the city valued this system at generating about $18,000 worth of energy in its first year.

The arena footed a $131,758 energy bill in 2022.

The arena’s system would cost $447,200; the city would be responsible for $268,320 and a federal credit would subsidize the remaining $178,880.

The city predicts both systems have a 20 year shelf life, and effectively pay for themselves in 12 to 13 years.

The city council’s meeting is open to the public and will be held in the council chambers on the top floor of Albert Lea City Hall, at 221 E. Clark St. The regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

A digital version will be available to watch on ALTV and Charter channel 180.