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Newcomerstown water treatment plant is going solar

Friday was the flip-the-switch event in which a ceremony was held, officially unveiling solar panels that could save the village hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

Newcomerstown is going solar, and it is expected to save the village plenty of money.

Friday was the flip-the-switch event in which a ceremony was held, officially unveiling solar panels that could save the village hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

"It doesn’t matter how small you are, if you have some land next to a water treatment or a waste water treatment plant, you can save a lot of money and help your community that much more with what you save,” Newcomerstown Mayor Patrick Cadle said.

An idea that started from solar panels used at a school seemed impossible following a fiscal emergency that resulted in bad credit for the village. It was not until Regor Energy approached Valta Energy on the other side of the country, that a plan fell into place.

"Newcomerstown came to us,” said Becky Waldfogel, Valta Energy business development officer. “They had an innovative vision and understood that solar could save them a lot of money. They weren’t able to find anyone that could meet their needs until they found us, and we are so happy they did.”

Officials say that over the 25-year contract, about $2 million will be saved on electricity and put into a special fund. By the end of the 25 years, the village will have enough money in that fund to repair and replace the panels, plus there will be no electricity bill at either plant.

"We are anxious to see these work because they follow the sun across the sky so it makes them more efficient,” Cadle said.

According to the mayor, other than trimming the trees around the sites, there was no money put out up front for the $2.3 million project.

"We were able to build these projects with no out-of-pocket costs to the town.,” Waldfogel said.

The solar panels will all be up and running by the beginning of the new year.

With the successful installation of solar panels, Newcomerstown is hoping that other neighboring communities and towns will follow suit.

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