The St. Clair Fire Protection District has joined other local entities in seeking to save money by using solar energy to power its facilities.

During a late October meeting, the fire district’s board of directors voted to partner with Missouri Solar Applications on 25-kilowatt solar electricity systems at Houses 1 and 2 and 6.48-kilowatt systems at Houses 3 and 4 as well as a lighting energy-efficient program at each.

Board President Robin Jobe and Treasurer Dave Berkel confirmed the decision to The Missourian.

However, Jobe would not provide any additional comment about the agreements or their terms.

But according to information provided by the fire district, plans are to lease solar arrays from Missouri Solar for Houses 1 and 2 and purchase units for Houses 3 and 4.

The proposals call for each of the stations to save thousands of dollars annually by converting to solar arrays and receiving a lighting maintenance upgrade through Missouri Solar Apps.

At House 1 under a lease agreement, that annual savings is estimated to be about $6,840.

The lease is for 20 years and will cost the district $2,500 per year with an annual 2 percent increase annually.

At the end of the 20 years, the fire district can renew the lease, cancel it or purchase the array outright.

Under the lighting improvement pact, MSA will receive an annual fixed lease payment of $2,972 for seven years. The district will own the equipment at the end of that time period.

There was no detailed paperwork available from the fire district for House 2 in Lonedell, but estimated annual energy production and savings were similar to House 1. 

At Houses 3 and 4, information lists the total system price for both the solar and lighting systems at $33,360. Ameren rebates take off $12,960 at both locations, leaving a net figure of $20,400.

All four agreements take advantage of Ameren Missouri rebates at $2 per watt.

In recent weeks, the St. Clair R-XIII School District opted to approve a lease agreement with Microgrid Solar to provide 25-kilowatt solar arrays at each of its four schools. The city of St. Clair and the Lonedell R-XIV School District also voted recently to pursue partnerships with Microgrid.

And, earlier this year, R&R Ace Hardware and St. Clair Health Mart Pharmacy got the solar ball rolling by agreeing to terms with Missouri Solar Apps to power their businesses and save money in the process by going the renewable energy route.