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Hillsborough a 'Pioneer' With Energy-Saving Project

Innovative plan will save taxpayers about $100K a year.

It’s power for the people.

Before a powerful thunderstorm rolled through Thursday night, township officials cut the ribbon on an innovative project that will save Hillsborough taxpayers more than $100,000 a year.

The $3.6 million project, of which the township only had to pay $1.9 million, included the installation of solar panels on the roof of the municipal complex and the Department of Public Works building and the upgrading of the HVAC and lighting systems at the municipal complex.

Ted Huesing, an account representative from Siemens that oversaw the project, said Hillsborough was a “pioneer.” School districts have undertaken similar projects, he said, but Hillsborough is the first municipality.

The solar panels will provide 25 percent of the power at the municipal complex and 90 percent of the energy at the Department of Public Works, Huesing said.

That will result in annual savings of $109,000, Huesing said.

On July 4th, when the municipal building was closed, the solar panels generated excessive electricity that was transmitted into the grid, Mayor Carl Suraci said.

“The township did a great job and were very supportive,” Huesing said, adding that the project, from start to finish, was under the auspices of three mayors, Suraci, Frank DelCore and Gloria McCauley.

A television monitor showing how much power is being generated by the solar panels is mounted in the lobby of the municipal complex, above the corridor to the library.

Besides the municipal offices and the library, the township complex on South Branch Road also houses the police department and board of education.

Adding to the tax savings are more efficient HVAC and lighting systems and their controls.

Under the terms of the agreement, Siemens will sell the power generated by the solar panels at a reduced rate.

"This is the way to do green, sustainable energy projects,” Suraci said.

Rich Lane July 27, 2012 at 02:29 PM
How many watts does that fancy HDTV use?
Mark July 27, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Touche. How about all of the free computers the library offers?!?!?!?!
BDVideo July 27, 2012 at 07:18 PM
I checked my TV with a "Kill-a-Watt" meter. It's about 120W with the cable box and TiVo. My computer, which I built for video editing, uses about 135W. If you want to figure out the cost of operation, you have to figure out how many hours the TV and computers are actually on. Now compare that to the heating, cooling and lighting costs, and how many hours a day those are used. Remember, even a small heater like a toaster oven uses about 800W. My small window AC is using 435 Watts right now. Think about what it costs to run the whole building. It's in the thousands of Watts. Maybe an electrician can give you a better estimate. So I'd say the TV and computers are fairly negligible. My question would be this: are the solar panels as efficient as promised? My church installed these. They've cut down the electric costs, but have not made the money they were supposed to. (BTW, I'm told they're no longer manufactured in the US.) So, a step in the right direction, environmentally, and hopefully the solar cells will offset their cost.
BoomBoom July 28, 2012 at 05:35 AM
So let's see, it costs us 1.9mil to buy it to save 100k per year. That means the break even point is in 19 years. Duh. What is the life span of the device? Or, how long will it take before this is obsolete, require maintainance fees or break down? Who was the math whiz that thought this up anyway?
Robert Simpson July 28, 2012 at 02:11 PM
And it cost the rest of us taxpayers 1.7 million. Shouldn't you be adding this in also

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