VALDOSTA — The city will be adding to its number of active solar panels after the city council approved a proposal at its Oct. 6 meeting to build a solar array, or a group of panels, at both the old and new Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plants.
In July, Valdosta City Council approved a contract with Hannah Solar to install solar panels at the city’s Mud Creek Water Treatment Plant. In exchange for building and maintaining the panels free of charge, Hannah Solar is allowed to build a separate solar array for its use without having to pay the city to lease the land.
Now, in a similar agreement, Hannah Solar will build two more solar arrays at the WWTPs, which will be used to power plant operations and to provide Hannah Solar with energy to sell to Georgia Power.
City Manager Larry Hanson said the agreement will save the city about $1 million during a 30-year period.
Hanson also said the solar panels are an advantageous solution to reducing the city’s power bill, especially considering the five-acre plots housing the panels cannot be used for much else because of their closeness to the wastewater plants.
At the meeting, council also approved the relocation and downsizing of the downtown post office to 311 N. Patterson St. Finalizing the move will still take several months, according to local real estate attorney Howard Dasher.
In addition, City Council established an official City Center Arts District in the downtown area. The designation is a show of support for the community’s art culture and will not cost the city any money, Hanson said.