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Johnson County city adds more solar to its energy portfolio
Solar panels on City of Hill buildings and properties will save thousands of dollars in energy costs
HILLS — After starting the project last year, the City of Hills, located just south of Iowa City, has finished placing solar panels on the city’s fire station, community center and office building.
The panels save the city $500 per month in energy. It’s projected they’ll save more than $300,000 over the next 25 years, according to a Friday news release. Average monthly bills now range from $10 to $20 per building.
“Money from the local-option sales tax was used to pay for the installation,” said city Mayor Tim Kemp in the news release, “and we quickly began to see a savings in our energy bills for those three buildings.”
Revenue from the sales tax also allowed the City of Hills to build a community stage, a splash pad recreation area and additional playground equipment. Last year, the municipality also began a decadelong plan to redo all of the streets in town.
Thanks to a power purchase agreement with Dubuque-based Eagle Point Solar, solar panels were also added to the Hills Water Treatment Plant and the Hills Sewer Lagoons grounds last month.
The solar projects on the water plant and sewer lagoons generate 34.7 and 56.7 kilowatts per hour respectively at their peak generation. In the month since their installment, the panels have already reduced energy costs by more than $2,000 between the two locations.
The panels on the fire station, community center and office building can generate 12.04, 11.55 and 12.04 kilowatts per hour respectively.
“It’s a win-win for the City, we will enjoy lower energy costs while being more environmentally conscious,” Kemp said.
The city did not provide the prices of any of the solar panels.
Brittney J. Miller is an environmental reporter for The Gazette and a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.
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