The City of Bloomington is on track to finish installing $13 million worth of solar panels before the end of the year.
Mayor John Hamilton flipped the switch Thursday to activate some recently installed solar panels at City Hall. Panels at 30 locations throughout the city will now contribute five megawatts of additional energy to Bloomington by the end of the year. The city will use a portion of the power, while the rest will go back to the grid.
Hamilton says the project will eventually pay for itself.
“It’s about a $13 million project over a 20 year period, and we expect to get that much back plus interest,” he says. “We spend almost over $2 million a year on electricity in this city and this will cut that substantially.”
Bloomington residents can expect to see panels installed at city buildings including the police station, softball fields and swimming pools.
Hamilton says he believes the project helps sustain a better future for the community.
“It makes me think of my kids, it makes me think of my grand kids,” he says. “Not just talk the talk but walking the walk to try to do what we can to improve the planet. And it’s good for the economy too. We know that the new energy economy is the right direction.”
Hamilton says residents are also contributing to the city’s sustainability by installing solar panels on their homes. He says so far this year 175 new families have signed up to do so.