By Christopher Johnson


For many years, communities and the citizens they contain have sought more effective ways to potentially save money, especially when it came to the basic needs of comfort and survival.

Tapping into existing resources by using a modified approach is something Trustees with the Village of Pecatonica have been following up with recently.

On Tuesday, July 20, elected officials once again looked into the idea of using solar energy to help power the services that help citizens exist more comfortably in the village.

A presentation was given by representatives with Keystone Power Holdings, a business entity that works to help lower electricity costs or generate revenue, while generating power, using clean energy.

There have been many meetings already held regarding solar improvements for the waste water treatment plant, in an effort to help reduce the expense of operating costs.

A Letter of Intent for design and engineering related to adding solar energy to help power the waste water treatment plant was already submitted, according to representatives with the development company.

Thoughts on options as to exactly where the solar additions would be situated were presented with answers provided regarding the preferred location and some of the concerns with some of the options.

Initially, a concern regarding the location for the solar panels, “in a basement area” was a point of discussion, when it came to looking at the selection in the long term, according to Village President Bill Smull.

“We are talking about the sludge pond in the back. There are some concerns with drilling through the barrier, which could cause contamination and future issues.”

It was explained that concrete blocks were put into the ground as a base, in the area selected, in an effort to help avoid those risks.

It was further explained that there is no cost to the city to develop. Keystone would be investing over a million dollars to put it in and they would maintain it.

The funds would be recouped over many years. Which means a very long-term contract would be required.

Program credits are issued. As soon as an agreement is locked in, the group could commence operations on installation.

Village Attorney Doug Henry explained that another concern was raised regarding the possible removal of the solar panels, if additional village growth required it.

“The wastewater treatment plant will probably have to expand. It could be maybe 20 to 30 years. If a contract were to be agreed upon, the expansion could be influenced.”

Henry explained to the Board that his office had submitted a request for an agreement modification and as of yet, received no response.

“Without an adjustment to the contract”, Henry explained, “if business operations were no longer feasible, the village of Pecatonica would have to bear the expense of taking down the solar panels.”

At this point, no agreement has been reached between Keystone and the Pecatonica Village Board for future development on the grounds of the waste water treatment plant.

If certain documents are amended, there is the possibility that the village will move forward with “going green” more willingly.

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