In an effort to further reduce costs, Bowie officials backed a proposal to install more solar panels in the city.
At its July 1 meeting, the City Council instructed city staff to look at installing solar panels to the roof of the Bowie Senior Center while the city moves forward with an already scheduled $273,000 overhaul of the facility’s roof.
Adding solar panels to the building is expected to cost around $50,000 and will most likely require the city to dip into its reserves of roughly $35 million, city officials said.
Resident Edith Furst said the effort to try renewable energy sources was worthwhile.
“The concept is good,” she said. “I’m kind of trusting they’re not going to go jumping ahead with this without having thought it through.”
Bowie has been experimenting with offer high-efficiency solar power
since 2008 at the city’s park and maintenance facility. An initial eight-kilowatt system installed at the facility was expanded in 2012 to be about 15 kilowatts and city records estimate the system costs about $54,000.
All of the system should pay back their cost within about seven years of installation while the systems themselves will last about 25 years, said Matthew Reno, Bowie’s capital projects manager.
Currently three city sites — the Prince George’s County Genealogy Library on Tulip Grove Drive, the city’s National Capitol Radio and Television Museum and park and maintenance facility, which are both on Mitchellville Road — have solar power systems
installed. The total cost of the solar system installation was more than $121,000, according to city records.
Initial findings indicate that at each of the three sites where the city installed solar panels, Bowie stood to generate between $1,300 to more than $5,000 per site annually between energy savings and payments for generating solar emergency light
and renewable energy credits, according to city documents.
Solar panel installation at the museum accompanied a roughly 58 percent energy reduction at the site with power usage between June to August 2011 dropping from 2,450 kilowatts used to about 1,018 kilowatts between June and August 2012, according to city documents.
Bowie will continue to look at solar panel installations at other city facilities as a way to be environmental conscious and reduce its energy use, said city manager David Deutsch.
“We’re certainly going to pursue it with the City Council,” he said.“I doubt it would work with all of our facilities. Some of the structures don’t lend themselves to an efficient use of solar.”