Solar Energy Options Proposed For VIllage

August 21, 2019

Cathy Kozlowicz

The Courier

Village officials are continuing to look at all options in providing renewable energy to its residents. Jake Griggs, an energy consultant with Bluestem Energy Solutions, based out of Omaha, Nebraska, provided a proposal at the Aug. 13 village board meeting.

Marshall is looking at potential renewable energy options, which would be funded through a grant it received earlier this year.

Griggs proposed a solar array will be interconnected behind the meter at the village’s wastewater treatment plant. He said the project will provide overall cost savings in a time frame of around 20 to 30 years.

The amount of savings would be based on if the village runs the project after Bluestem Energy Solutions installs it or if Bluestem had total control. If Bluestem installed and controlled the solar energy array, the savings would be $90,000 for 20 years and $183,000 for 30 years. If the village managed the project, there would be a startup of $327,600 where Bluestem Energy Solutions would install the design but the village would get more of the cost savings, said Ruechel.

It is estimated the village savings would be around $500,000 and $700,000.

Elected officials wanted to know what would happen to the solar array project if the wastewater treatment plans needs to expand or if the parcel needs to be used due to the city growth. Ruechel is not predicting it, but it could be an option.

The board members also asked about penalty and fees and what would happen if they are not seeing the savings. Griggs said that can be discussed about and the cost can be negotiated.

Ruechel said that if the village approves of this plan, the proposal would need to go to the plan commission and then work its way to the board for final approval. No timetable for consideration was set.

Police consider sign purchase

Children using the Main Street and School Street intersection to get to school may encounter a sign instead of a person to help them cross the street. Police Chief John Nault said the department is considering installing a flashing crosswalk sign for the intersection. If the sign is purchased, there will not be a crossing guard at that intersection. The crossing guard position at stop is currently vacant; Nault reported hiring crossing guards is difficult.

The police chief said intersection has the fewest number of children who walk there to and from school.

The sign would cost between $4,000 and $6,000 and be operational at all times to help pedestrians cross the street.