Almanac

News - September 22, 2010

Woodside nixes solar-panel plan

by Dave Boyce

The dustbin is now the official resting place for plans to spend some $100,000 to put solar panels on the roof of the Woodside Town Hall. The plans have been on hold for about two budget years as town staff waited for the economy to stabilize and a state or federal incentive of extra funding to materialize.

The Town Council voted unanimously on Sept. 14 — with Mayor Dave Burow and Councilman Peter Mason absent — to do as a staff report recommended: scrap the plans because the technology has not met staff hopes of becoming a more cost-effective investment.

Better to replace the antiquated and ineffective heating and air conditioning systems in Town Hall and Independence Hall (where the town's deliberative bodies meet), Town Engineer Paul Nagengast told the council.

By its vote, the council also approved spending $25,000 to replace the Town Hall roof, a long-planned companion project that can be done before the rains set in, Mr. Nagengast added.

The staff report suggested the use of more efficient lighting and the unplugging of equipment not needed to be on during non-working hours.

Reducing electrical demand is a better approach, Councilman Dave Tanner said. Solar panels, while a great idea, don't pencil out financially, he said.

Councilwoman Deborah Gordon asked Mr. Nagengast to continue to monitor the progress of solar energy technology. "I don't want to just give up," she said.

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