City of Washburn’s Robust Financing Shines with the Sun

The Washburn Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and the Greater Bayfield Wastewater Treatment Plant each are producing solar energy with the commissioning of their 100 kW ac systems installed by Eagle Point Solar. How the small City of Washburn (population just over 2,100), working with Cheq Bay Renewables and Madison Solar Consulting, amassed the financing for their $216,825 solar PV installation from multiple sources is worth noting.

The City received $169,000 in loans from the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL). They applied $107,700 to the solar project and $40,300 to upgrade the energy efficiency of the WWTP.  A Renewable Energy Competitive Incentive Program (RECIP) grant from Focus on Energy for $79,119 covered 34 percent of cost of the project and a community grant of $30,000 made up the balance. A preliminary study indicates that the energy efficiency improvements could reduce energy use of the WWTP as much as 50 percent. The plant may be on its way to being energy independent.

The Greater Bayfield WWTP offset one quarter of the $221,859 solar PV project costs with a $56,409 Focus RECIP Grant. The City of Bayfield (population 473) is an 85 percent co-owner of the WWTP with Pikes Bay Sanitary Sewer District. These partners paid for the balance of the PV system. Solar production will offset approximately 45 percent of annual energy use of the plant.


Washburn Wastewater Treatment Plant 100 kW solar system (left); Greater Bayfield WWTP 100 kW solar system (right).
Photos courtesy of Cheq Bay Renewables