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.