City of Danbury Considering Massive Solar Power System at Wastewater Treatment Plant

Mayor Joe Cavo and Chief of Staff Dean Esposito work cooperatively with Antonio Iadarola, P.E., Director of Public Works/City Engineer and David Day, P.E., Superintendent of Public Utilities, to seek alternative green power solutions and opportunities to offset operating expenses and minimize the City's environmental impact.

Today, Mayor Cavo announced the City's proposal for a solar installation on the closed landfill property located adjacent to the City’s wastewater treatment plant. The City plans to work with Veolia Water North America on this installation. Veolia is currently upgrading the wastewater treatment plant and has a standing agreement with the City of Danbury to provide operation and maintenance services for the plant.

The proposed system includes a 2.2 MegaWatt Solar Photovoltaic (PV) installation that would sit on the top of the City’s capped landfill. It is projected to generate 70% of the plant’s annual energy usage and, with the use of battery storage, provide a backup power supply for 3 hours of peak demand.

“After considerable research and numerous discussions in our search to implement alternative power projects throughout the City, I can confidently say that this solar power project at our plant is not only cost-efficient with an impressive rate of return, but also has beneficial impacts on our environment,” said Mayor Joe Cavo. “This project along with our biodiesel production project at the plant will place Danbury as a municipal leader in the development of alternative green energy.”

The City’s desire to move forward with this installation stems from the rapid return on investment to Danbury taxpayers. The City is projected to save $320,000 a year on utility costs. This project will produce green energy that costs 0.01 $/kWh vs the current utility cost of 0.09-0.15 $/kWh. There would be a 10-year payback period, which could be as short as 6 to 7 years with the possibility of securing incentives and other funding assistance.

Veolia projects the environmental benefits of this installation to equate to planting 34,000 trees or avoiding the use of 4,800 barrels of oil annually. Veolia is well-versed in green energy and solar power solutions, and has undergone major efforts to redistribute waste created by green energy technologies. The company recently opened a plant in Europe dedicated to the treatment of end-of-life PV panels. Materials used in the panels are separated and redirected to various industrial sectors.