“We’ve got the property behind our building, between our building and the wastewater plant,” Smith said. “Technically it’s the flood plain, although it has never flooded, and we are trying to find a viable use for the property. Solar panels can work in that environment. We looked at the possibility to serve power to our wastewater plant and our office.”
Smith said the estimate for the prject is $2.5 million but officials expect the project could come in under that amount. Smith said the finance organization will give $300,000 in principal forgiveness for the project.
The grant funds available to GEFA are for renewable energy projects. The interest will be 1.03 percent on the loan.
“It will serve probably 80 to 85 percent of our electric loads at our office and our wastewater plant.”
Smith estimates those power bills to be currently about $12,000 monthly.
The loan payment is expected to be about $10,600 monthly.
The proposal goes before the GEFA board in October and Smith anticipates getting started on the project around January.
Georgia Power is working with Waterworks officials to send out bids for financing as well as construction bids.
The project itself is expected to take about two months to complete.
Smith said the property is five acres and the project is a one megawatt installation.
“This is the first solar project that GEFA has financed,” Smith said. “It’s a pretty popular thing on the west coast but hardly anyone here is doing it. We operate mostly during the day, so we don’t need much power in the evenings or overnight, and that’s the reason it will work out for us so well.
“We’re trying to find a viable use for the property and this works. After the first of the year we’ll be saving money.”