Solar powered water system aims to save city thousands
More than 1-thousand solar panels are spread out among three sites.
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
In just a few months the city of Ashburn will be one of the only cities in the country to have their water system primarily powered by solar panels. It's a project that will save the city thousands of dollars.
Crews are working to finish installing the solar panels, in three sites that will provide water for the 4,400 residents of Ashburn.
"It started out with the goal of building a tank and well, and it kind of evolved into the city, and how they could save money," says Ashburn City Manager Ben Taylor.
The $2 million project has been in the works for two years and will be up and running in a few months. Meanwhile, the savings generated by the solar panel project is expected to offset the cost of the new tank and well.
"The city spends about $100,000 a year in power, to power their water system, says City Engineer David Palmer. "We're anticipating a 80 to 90% savings off of that with this project."
More than 1,000 solar panels are spread out among three sites to power the wells for the towers.
"This project will be very important to the city because it's going to increase our overall storage of water. Before, without the new tank and well and the solar panels, we had about 500,000 gallons of storage in the air and this will bring it to what we use in a 24 hour period, of over 800,000 gallons," says Taylor.
Residents can expect more reliable water service, pressure increase and improved fire protection. City engineer David Palmer says he hopes this unique setup will serve as a benchmark for other communities.
"I don't know of anybody that's tried to do this exact thing before, says Palmer. Solar power panels have been around since the 1960's and 1970's, but I don't know that anyone specifically tried to power a water system using solar panels."
There are three sources of power for the wells, including the solar panels, in case one fails. Engineers say there's no extensive maintenance, which is also a plus.