$9.7 million Newark project will use energy savings to pay off low-interest loan

person standing beside body of water during daytime

The City of Newark plans to combine solar power, energy conservation, roofing, heating and air-conditioning (HVAC) projects in a $9.7 million package that will not add to the city’s bonded debt load.

Jeff Martindale, the assistant to the city manager, stated in an Email message that the combined project will be financed via savings from solar as well as increased energy efficiency in lighting and new HVAC systems.

The city had earlier awarded through an RFP process New Castle-based Seiberlich Trane an energy services company contract for projects that would cut the city’s electric consumption.

Financing will come through a loan with Bank of America with a 2.345 percent interest rate over 20 years that will be paid down through energy savings and possible grants.

Roofing and HVAC projects were already in the capital budget. “These city projects would cost the city millions of dollars in current resources in the near future, so lumping them into one cost-neutral project is a significant win for the city,” Martindale stated.

Seiberlich Trane will manage the projects with city oversight.

The solar projects, at a minimum, will quadruple the city’s solar power generation and will account for about 2.6 percent of the power consumption of the city’s municipal electric utility. The city’s solar farm current provides electricity to the equivalent of two or three dozen homes,

The city now has solar panels at the McKees Solar Park off Cleveland Avenue (auto row). The expansion will add to McKees, the Municipal Center police and city hall), George Wilson Center, the city’s Field Operations Complex (maintenance yard), and a field near the Newark Reservoir.

The city electric utility buys power in the wholesale market, with solar power offering some savings. The city will also receive payments from Delaware Municipal Electric Corp., an entity serving city-owned electric utilities in the state.

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