MONTROSE – The City of Montrose and a local solar energy company have recently completed the installation of a high-efficiency photovoltaic system at the city’s wastewater treatment plant that it is estimated will save the city $8,000 annually.
A public tour is Thursday, May 29, at 11 a.m., at the wastewater plant located at 3315 North Townsend Ave., just west of the city’s animal shelter.
BrightLeaf Power, a local manufacturer of solar energy products, completed the system, funded through a $231,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
“We are very pleased to be able to work with BrightLeaf on this project,” City of Montrose Public Works Director John Harris said in a news release. “It represents an excellent win-win situation where the city benefits by reducing energy costs at the Wastewater Treatment Plant while also supporting a local business that holds the promise of bringing dozens of new jobs to Montrose.
The city will use electrical energy generated by the new installation to offset city grid consumption. Plans are now afoot to install a similarly sized system to serve a communications site on Sunset Mesa, funded by a grant from the Governor’s Energy Office, and due for completion by the end of August.
“Over the past three years, the city has reduced energy consumption at the wastewater treatment plant by 12 percent, amounting to a combined savings of over $65,000 over that period,” said Virgil Turner, director of innovation and citizen engagement for the city. “The solar project being unveiled is just one of many initiatives aimed at keeping our costs as low as possible, for the benefit of our customers.”
BrightLeaf’s installation at the Wastewater Treatment Plant produces both electric and thermal energy, and is equivalent to a fifty-seven kilowatt system. The electric energy reduces taxpayer costs on the treatment plant’s electric bill, and the thermal energy is used to provide heading for the facility’s centrifuge.
Thursday’s tour offers the public its first opportunity to see a BrightLeaf installation, said company spokesperson Gary Bustin.
BrightLeaf’s efforts are being viewed as an “economic booster” for the Western Slope by providing nearly seventy jobs with plans to more than double that number in 2014.
The privately funded company has been working for the past five years to develop what it’s dubbing the most “energy efficient solar energy units on the market today.” The company, which entered the commercial solar market last year, has no plans to address residential solar energy at the present time.
“Montrose is a great community, and we are proud to have it as BrightLeaf Power’s home. We have felt a great deal of support from the community and deeply appreciate the opportunity we have been given to work with the city. It is nice to have the hometown support as we step out into the global market,” BrightLeaf’s founder Doug Kiesewetter said.
For more information, please visit www.brightleafpower.com.