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Decatur City Commission approves contracts for solar, battery system, dairy barn work, tree maintenance

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Decatur City Commission approves contracts for solar, battery system, dairy barn work, tree maintenance

The Decatur City Commission met on Dec. 6 at City Hall and discussed projects related to the battery and solar system at the public works building, stabilizing the dairy barn at Legacy Park, and continuing the downtown tree maintenance program. Photo by Zoe Seiler.
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Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission, at its Dec. 6 meeting, approved a project budget and contract for the battery and solar system at the public works building, as well as for work that will stabilize the dairy barn at Legacy Park. The board additionally approved an agreement with Arborguard Tree Specialists for maintenance of street trees in downtown Decatur.

The board set a project budget of $500,000 and approved a contract with Powerhouse Energy 360 and Hannah Solar for about $480,000 for the design, engineering and installation of a solar and battery system at the public works building on Talley Street. The work is expected to be finished by June 2022.

In June 2020, the city was selected to participate in phase one of the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority’s solar resiliency program. During phase one, Decatur received technical assessments for the installation of solar arrays and battery storage systems at the Decatur Recreation Center and the public works building, Decatur Energy and Sustainability Manager David Nifong said.

“These systems were sized to meet the projected electricity demand of each facility’s critical loads during emergency operation scenarios,” Nifong said.

In April, the city was accepted in phase two of the program, which will provide $200,000 in grant funding from GEFA to install the proposed system at public works.

“The system to be delivered under this contract will include an approximately 105 kilowatt solar array and 323 kilowatt lithium-ion battery,” Nifong said. “The proposed system will produce approximately 160 megawatts of clean, on-site electricity per year, enough to offset the facility’s electricity consumption by approximately 40%, saving about $16,000 in costs per year. During typical operations, the battery system can also be discharged to reduce peak demand and further reduce those energy bills.”

The battery and solar system would also be able to support the public works building’s critical loads for about 36 hours during times of great disruption. Once constructed, this would be Decatur’s first municipal battery and solar system, he added.

“The facility itself could maintain some of the core functions that the city needs to provide during those scenarios,” Nifong said.
“For example, we would still be able to fuel our fleets. So if a tree that goes down, the truck that goes out to take that tree from the road, we’ll still be able to fuel using the fuel island. Police can bring up the 911 center at the public works building using that battery-stored energy, and other things like that.”

— In other business, the City Commission approved a project budget of $60,000 and approved a contract with CGS Waterproofing for about $54,000 for the stabilization of the dairy barn at Legacy Park.

The barn was built in 1914. The stone barn is one of the oldest buildings on the property and is the last remaining facility associated with the farming heritage of Legacy Park, Assistant City Manager David Junger said.

The work that will be done includes repairing and replacing roof decking and rafters, and the installation of new shingles to weatherize the barn and prevent further deterioration.

“The stabilization work is the first phase of a two-phase project intended to upgrade the barn for use as an open-air facility similar to the park pavilions located in other city-owned parks,” Junger said. “The plans for phase two would include upgrading existing interior electrical systems and lighting, constructing an exterior deck along the pond side of the structure, cleaning and repair of the concrete floor on the inside and installing more appropriate barn doors to replace the existing roll-up, metal doors.”

— Additionally, the City Commission approved an agreement with Arborguard Tree Specialists of about $34,000 for the maintenance of street trees in downtown Decatur. The services include pruning, fertilization and pest control for 420 trees.

Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon said this is an annual program the city has done for about 25 years. Arborguard has maintained Decatur’s downtown trees since the initial streetscape program was implemented in 1996, he wrote in a memo.

“You can see the difference it makes in our downtown tree canopy,” Saxon said.

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