$38.7M energy upgrade pitched; Manager targets parking garages and streetlights.

Byline: Nick Kotsopoulos

WORCESTER -- City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. is asking the City Council to approve a $38.7 million loan order to finance an additional phase of energy efficiency upgrades at various municipal facilities.

The upgrades include retrofitting about 15,000 streetlights to LED technology, and retrofitting the lighting at five municipal parking facilities.

It would also finance an 8.7-megawatt solar photo voltaic array installation at the former Greenwood Street municipal landfill, and a 600-kilowatt solar photovolatic installation in the parking lot at Beaver Brook Park.

Mr. Augustus said the energy efficiency upgrades are being underwritten by the combination of utility rebates and solar renewable credits, of which the latter carries alone carries an estimated value of $17.85 million.

Once completed, the manager said, the proposed work will result in an estimated annual energy reduction savings of more than $1.8 million. He added that the estimated payback for this project will be 10.5 years, making it "an extremely cost-effective venture.''

"These projects will save money, and continue the city's commitment to the environment by reducing our carbon emissions,'' Mr. Augustus said. "It's a no-brainer.''

The cost to retrofit the streetlights to LED lighting with photocell control is about $9.7 million. That conversion is expected to generate total savings of $698,822; of that $537,972 is in reduced energy costs and $160,850 in operational costs.

In addition to reducing the city's maintenance costs, the new street lighting is also expected to provide improved light levels. The municipal parking facilities that would also have their lighting retrofitted to LED technology are the Thomas Street parking lot and the municipal garages at Federal Plaza, Pearl-Elm and Union Station, as well as the City Hall underground garage.

That phase of the project is expected to cost $1.1 million and generate an annual energy costs savings of $94,116.

Meanwhile, the proposed ground-mounted, 8.7-megawatt solar photo voltaic installation at the former Greenwood Street landfill has a price tag of nearly $27 million, and it is expected to generate an annual energy savings for the city of nearly $1.2 million. This phase of the project has an estimated 10-year solar renewable energy credit value of $16 million and, as a result, the payback for this work has been projected at a little more than nine years.

City officials said this work requires an...

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