MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The Meridian Township Service Center has a new addition to the building, but it's not something you can see from the ground.
The roof of the building is now equipped with solar panels, specifically 355 400W Silfab solar panels.
The panels were installed by Absolute Solar, a Lansing and Meridian Township-based company. Rob Kaercher, co-founder of Absolute Solar, said that they have worked in the community before with installing solar panels at the Okemos Fire Station.
"This installation is a part of the Meridian [Climate] Sustainability Plan in order to try to by 2030, eliminate Meridian Township's carbon footprint from the municipal buildings," Kaercher said.
The installation cost the Township around $290,000, however Kaercher said that it will ultimately save more in the long run.
"By the time the 25-year panel warranty is up, it would have not only recouped its' cost, but save the township over $580,000 and that is including purchase cost," Kaercher said.
Overall, these solar panels produce the same amount of energy as 6,736 barrels of oil, according to data from Absolute Solar. They save 3,111,196 pounds of coal and in order to match the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions due to the solar panel installation, 74,270 trees would need to be planted to match.
Dan Bacon, a co-founder of Absolute Solar as well, said the paperwork process for the project took around a month, but the setup of the system took about two weeks.
"We have a great team, a great installation team," Bacon said. "A lot of them are actually MSU graduates as well as current MSU students working with us for the summer."
Although the panels have a 25-year warranty, Bacon said they are able to last longer and the solar panels will offset approximately 100% of the building's 2020 electrical use.
"The material warranty is 25 years and the power output warranty is 30 years," Bacon said. "But Silfab is a great North American brand and we fully expect these panels to produce energy far beyond what they are warranted to do. So it could be 40, 50 years or maybe even longer."
The Meridian Township Service Center is located at 2100 Gaylord C. Smith Court, Haslett, MI 48840.
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