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City eyes solar power for wastewater treatment facility

Provides solar energy
Provides solar energy(WTVG)
Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 3:28 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wausau Water Works Commission unanimously approved the purchase of a parcel of land for the future purpose of a solar array. Once complete the array would power the city’s new wastewater treatment facility.

The property is west of the Wisconsin River and southeast of Monk Botanical Gardens at 1010 Bugbee Ave. The property is $125,000.

“I do think that this is about a 7-acre piece of property. And we may need a little bit more property to the north to get to the size that we want. But we’ll look at those varying sizes to provide enough power for the treatment facility once it’s up and running,” said Director of Public Works & Utilities Eric Lindman.

The lot would be home to a solar array that would provide about 40% of the power to the facility. A solar array of that size would cost an estimated $1.5 million. A larger array could provide 90% of the facility power, but more land would be needed. A larger array could cost $3.5 million.

All of the power generated will be used to power the plant unlike other arrays in the state where the power is sold back to the utility.

Lindman says it will benefit everyone in the city.

“The users will see the benefit and the users are really everybody in the city that uses water,” Lindman said. “So obviously the less power that we use and have to pay for is definitely a benefit to them.”

Construction on the new wastewater treatment facility began in July 2020. It’s expected to be completed next year. The purchase of the land for the solar array will need to be finalized by the city council. Lindman expects that to happen in April, pending the results of soil analysis.

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