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City Council considering energy savings project

By ROSS FLINT

rflint@shelbynews.com

The City of Shelbyville is looking into the possibility of an energy savings project in buildings and on the streets.

The City Council listened to a presentation by representatives from Johnson-Melloh Solutions, a company based out of Indianapolis that focuses on renewable energy products and services, during Wednesday’s meeting.

No action was taken by the council after the presentation, which was given by Business Development Director Rick Anderson, Kurt Schneider, an owner of the company, and Mark Frost, who runs the engineering division.

The potential project would provide solar ray energy for buildings around the city, mechanical upgrades and LED lighting, according to Anderson.

“That is going to be a significant energy driver for paying for a lot of these other improvements,” he said.

The price tag of $4.2 million would be paid through the energy savings that are realized, Mayor Tom DeBaun said.

City Council member Brad Ridgeway (R-4th Ward) questioned if Shelbyville was in a position that it could afford the project.

“This is a very complex issue. It’s a great issue,” he said. “Everybody’s going LED. I get it. But what’s it going to cost? Why can’t we do a little bit at a time? It has to be a huge upfront cost, to do, this is basically the whole city. I don’t know if we can afford that.”

Based on previous experience, Schneider said the way the company structures it is for no payment to be made in the first 18 months to build up a reserve.

The solar panel’s lifespan is around 25 years and would not go against any debt the city currently has, Schneider said.

“This thing sits over by itself,” he said.

The savings are guaranteed and is bonded, Anderson said. The company’s greatest claim to fame, he said, is the large solar field at Indianapolis International Airport. He also cited a project at the Hamilton County Corrections facility in Noblesville that was projected to save that county $25 million over 25 years in utility costs.

If the council decided to pursue the project, the next step would be to request Johnson-Melloh to provide a contract proposal for review, DeBaun said.