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United Electric among companies praised for participating in the Belvedere Fire Company solar project

Governor Markell cuts the ribbon on solar power system for Belvedere Fire Company in Wilmington

Governor Jack Markell and DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara joined a group of Delaware solar companies and volunteer firefighters this morning to cut the ribbon for a new 50 kilowatt solar power system on the Belvedere Fire Company’s Fire Hall in Wilmington. Built from Delaware-manufactured components by Delaware contractors, the system will save the fire company an estimated one-third of its electric utility costs – approximately $400,000 over the life of the system.

“Belvedere’s volunteer firefighters risk their lives to protect their neighbors. They put all of their energy into their service.” Gov. Markell said. “Local business, government and the community came together to give back, putting solar panels up to help power this fire hall and the work these volunteers do.”

Belvedere’s new solar power system, which was completed in December, will provide 65,000 kilowatts of clean electric power annually – an amount that will off-set 44.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – equivalent to emissions from the annual electric usage of nearly six homes or the annual greenhouse gas emissions of nearly nine passenger vehicles.

“Adding solar power is a great way for a community organization to save on energy costs while reducing pollutants entering and damaging our environment,” said Secretary O’Mara. “This solar power system will be providing clean, renewable, sustainable power to the Belvedere Fire Company at minimal cost and with little maintenance for years to come.”

The idea of solar power for the Belvedere Fire Hall was initially suggested last year by several fire company members who are also employees of Cermet Materials in Wilmington, which manufactures products used in solar panel production. Cermet owners Charlie Falletta and Pansy Tong agreed to help finance the project.

“We are committed to the solar industry, and to supporting the use and growth of solar as a clean, renewable power source,” said Falletta. “This project also allowed us to help out a volunteer group that provides a vital public service to the residents of Wilmington.”

Cermet Materials brought KW Solar Solutions of Newark on board as project manager and installer. Project materials were purchased through United Electric, a Delaware-based electrical supply company in New Castle. The 208 240-watt solar panels that comprise the system were manufactured in Newark by Motech Delaware. Final electrical work was completed by Delaware commercial and residential electrical contractor Nickle Electric Companies of Newark.

Additional funding for the Belvedere Fire Company project came from the Delaware Green Energy Program, administered by the DNREC Division of Energy and Climate. The DGEP provided a grant of $68,400 towards the estimated $273,951 in total project costs.

The Green Energy Program helps Delaware homeowners, businesses and non-profit organizations meet their energy needs in a more sustainable way through the installation of renewable energy systems, including solar, geothermal and wind. Since 1999, the Green Energy Program has supported more than 1,000 renewable energy projects in Delaware.

Click here to watch the video of Governor Markell's press conference