On Monday afternoon, the town of Dayton’s new solar photovoltaic (PV) system was commissioned and turned on with the flip of a switch.
The system was designed by North Wind Renewable Energy of Stevens Point. About two weeks ago, the company installed it on the roof of Dayton’s town hall.
“It’s designed to meet 100 percent of the building’s kilowatt consumption over the course of a year,” said Craig Buttke, the PV department manager at North Wind Renewable Energy.
The electric bill for Dayton’s town hall has been about $1,000 a year.
The $35,000 cost of the project was covered by a $12,250 Focus on Energy incentive, a $12,250 Wisconsin Public Service nonprofit grant and $10,500 from the town of Dayton.
Dayton used funds from its savings for its portion of the cost.
With the town’s cost being $10,500, Town Chairman Jim Peglow said Dayton expects a full payback by the end of the ninth year. That is based on the fact that the town’s electricity cost for the town hall has been about $1,000 a year up until now, and so, in 10 years, the town would break even.
And Buttke says the system will save Dayton just over $50,000 over the first 30 years that it is in place.
Peglow said the decision to install such a system follows the resolution the town board signed this past May 20 to commit to a sustainable future.
With the help of Dayton resident Jane Haasch, the town board began looking at what it could do, and solar was among the options discussed.
Buttke said the solar electric system should produce a source of electricity that will eliminate the town’s utility bill.
During the summer, the town could receive a credit from Wisconsin Public Service, he said.
“Their bill will reflect the power that is delivered to the utility grid and the power consumed from it,” Buttke said.
Peglow said that in the future, the town would like to have a display module so that town residents would be able to see just how much electricity is being produced from the solar electric system. The cost of such a module is estimated at about $1,000.
Peglow said the board could not justify spending another $1,000 and smiled as he said that the board would love it if a resident or group of residents was interested in paying for such a display module.
Buttke said the new PV system on Dayton’s town hall will serve as a tool to educate those who see it.
“It’s really cool that they went ahead and did this,” he said. “It’s going to be a great investment for the future.”