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Wilmington Teams with Honeywell on $14.5M Energy Retrofit, Solar Project

The city of Wilmington and Honeywell have embarked on a sweeping $14.5 million efficiency project that includes two solar arrays, increased water reservoir capacity, a traffic light retrofit and upgraded lighting and HVAC systems for 11 public safety and public works facilities.

The improvements are expected to reduce electricity consumption by an estimated 2.8 million kilowatt-hours annually (enough to power more than 260 homes) and cut carbon dioxide emissions by almost 4.4 million pounds each year, Honeywell said.

Savings from the upgrades are to pay for the project, and Honeywell has guaranteed annual savings of about $1.14 million as part of a 20-year performance contract, an arrangement which makes the undertaking budget neutral. Honeywell said the improvements are also expected to produce $16 million in savings beyond the guaranteed amount across the life of the contract.

{related_content}Honeywell already installed the first of two solar photovoltaic arrays. Together, the installations will have almost 3,400 panels.

The first array went up at the city's Porter Reservoir Filtration Plant, the site of several improvements, and is expected to generate 650,000 kwh of electricity annually and cover almost 25 percent of the plant's load. The second array will be mounted in the roof of the the city's Public Works Yard and Municipal Complex and will add 300,000 kwh of renewable energy.

Honeywell also installed a booster pumping station to increase available capacity of the Porter Reservoir, bringing it from 4 million to 30 million gallons. The increase will allow the city to draw from the reservoir during the day and shift the bulk of raw-water pumping to off-peak hours, when utility rates are lower. Honeywell said it helped the city negotiate new rates, making further savings possible.

Other efficiency work in the project includes converting city traffic signals to light-emitting diode technology and upgrading HVAC controls and equipment in 11 public works and public safety facilities.

To finance the program initially, Wilmington is using more than $9.5 million from a low-interest Recovery Act stimulus loan, through the Delaware Division of Public Health's Office of Drinking Water, and an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the Department of Energy. The second array is to be financed by a Clean Renewable Energy Bond from the Department of Treasury.

Honeywell says it plans to have all the efficiency measures in place by the end of the year. The city and the company are planning a second phase of improvements, including a renewable energy and bio-solids facility for Wilmington's wastewater treatment plant.  

All the work will help Wilmington meet commitments made as a signator to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

Other recent Honeywell performance contracts for municipal efficiency projects include a $4.5 million lighting retrofit in Antioch, Calif.

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