Truckee Sanitary District going solar | SierraSun.com

Truckee Sanitary District going solar

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

Truckee’s largest collection of solar panels could crop up next summer out off of Joerger Drive powering the town’s sewer operations.

The Truckee Sanitary District is considering putting up between 550 and 675 modules ” around 10,000 square feet of panels ” to power their buildings.

“This came from one of our board members,” said Thomas Selfridge, general manager for the Truckee Sanitary District. “It was motivated partly by doing the right thing for the environment, but we also wanted to insulate ourselves from the rising cost of power.”

The solar panels, spread out over about 20,000 square feet, would cost about $960,000, Selfridge said, and generate 120 Kilowatts.

On average, electricity costs the district about $30,000 a year today, Selfridge said.

The Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s solar power rebate program will kick in an estimated $22,500, Selfridge said, helping to defray the cost.

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And while the sanitary district is one of the first projects to partake in the rebate program, many other locals have expressed interest, said Steven Poncelet, public information officer and conservation manager for the utility district.

“The solar rebate program kicked off in 2008 and it has been very well received by the community,” Poncelet said. “People are signing up into 2010.”

He said the sanitary district’s large project will be a good demonstration for the community on solar technology.

The Town of Truckee has also set aside $100,000 from the budget to leverage grant funding to put solar paneling on town hall, said Town Manager Tony Lashbrook.

But the sanitary district still has to commit to the project, and choose from potential bidders, Selfridge said.

If the board OK’s the project and selects a bidder, the panels could go in next summer, he said.

The sanitary district board will consider narrowing down the list of bidders today, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. at 12304 Joerger Drive.

The Truckee Sanitary District is also moving forward to clean up a portion of the Truckee River Regional Park once used as a town dump.

A roughly 1,000-square-foot area east of the tennis courts and near the disc golf course has been fenced off and signs have been posted to keep the public away from the soil contamination.

Hazardous levels of lead, cadmium, copper and zinc were found in park soil during a California Integrated Waste Management Board investigation in August 2006.

Thomas Selfridge, general manager of the sanitary district, said as the property owners, the district hopes to have the hazardous materials consolidated and sealed underground some time next spring before the park’s peak season.

The cleanup would cost an estimated $1 million, and the district is looking to split the bill with the state, Selfridge said.