MANCHESTER — A new array of 44 solar panels atop the fire station is expected to supply about half the electricity the building needs.

The 9.2-kilowatt solar-electric system cost about $46,000, and was funded primarily by at $41,000 grant from Efficiency Maine.

Town Manager E. Patrick Gilbert said the new system is projected to provide some 46 percent of the power consumed at the fire station.

Thus, the panels are projected to save just less than half of the town’s roughly $3,500 annual electric bill at the fire station.

The town paid $5,000 as its share of the grant-funded project. The panels were installed about two weeks ago by Liberty-based Revision Energy.

“It’s in, it’s making electricity right now,” Gilbert said of the system.

The system is connected to the power grid, so when it is producing more power than is needed at the fire station, that excess electricity goes into the grid, and the town will get a credit on its bill from Central Maine Power Co. for that electricity.

“Whatever we don’t use dumps back into the grid,” Gilbert said. “There will be good (electricity-generating) days and bad days.”

Gilbert said Selectman Jeremy Pare spearheaded the project and the Efficiency Maine grant. Gilbert said Pare, who could not be reached for comment, is very interested in alternative energy sources.

The 44, 40-inch-by-65-inch, 230-watt Solon Blue solar panels run along the entire ridgeline of the roof, on the south side of the building.

Gilbert said the location is expected to allow the panels to work at about 95 percent of their capacity.

The new system includes the panels, a roof-mounting system and, inside the building, inverters and other equipment.

Gilbert said the system can be monitored online. He said he hopes to ultimately make the system’s monitoring information available on the town’s website.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

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