The Pacific Fire District will reduce its energy expenses by $75,000 over 20 years after installing solar panels at two stations.
Deputy Fire Chief Ken Prichard began to research the project after seeing Fenton and Eureka fire districts and several area school districts announce cost-saving solar projects.
Prichard contacted Brightergy, a commercial solar system provider that serves in Kansas City, Boston and St. Louis, to review the possibility of installing a renewable energy system in the Pacific Fire District.
Over a three-month period, the firm audited the district’s use of electricity and the structural strength of the stations where panels could be placed.
Following the study and planning, some 80 solar panels were installed on the roof of Fire Station 1 at 910 W. Osage.
When engineers determined that the Robertsville station building at 7370 Highway O was not constructed to bear the additional weight, a ground installation of 70 panels was designed in back of the station.
The panels are leased from Brightergy, which also maintains them.
Lease payments on the panels are $2,160 the first year with increases each year taking the final lease cost at $2,610 the 20th year.
Projected savings also accelerate each year. Savings at the Pacific station are projected at $579 the first year, accelerating to $3,804 the 20th year, with a total cumulative savings of $39,089.
Savings at the Robertsville station begin at $447 the first year and accelerate to $3,495 the 20th year for a total savings of $34,901.
“We’re pleased with how it came together,” Prichard said. “We do everything we can to operate the district at the least cost.”