Bordentown City recipient of grant award to conduct solar energy study

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Bordentown City is the recent recipient of grant money that will be used to conduct a comprehensive solar study.

The study will result in how the municipality can best integrate solar energy and battery systems into its operations.

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Bordentown City officials announced on Jan. 21 that the municipality was selected as a $10,000 grant award recipient from Sustainable Jersey’s Gardinier Environmental Fund, which is aimed to fund a solar study in the area.

Bordentown City was selected among 11 municipalities by the Sustainable Jersey organization to fund proposals for towns such as the addition of electric vehicles to municipal fleets, solar projects such as the purchase of solar technology, completion of solar energy feasibility studies and solar education; and innovative energy efficiency projects in municipal buildings.

Upon receiving the grant award, Bordentown City Deputy Mayor John Brodowski said that as part of the municipality’s partnership with Sustainable Jersey for more than a decade, officials have made continuous efforts to optimize the efficiency of the area’s operations.

Officials said the grant-funded study is intended to understand how the city can use solar photovoltaic/battery system for its operations to increase energy resiliency in the event of power outages. It’s also planned to analyze how much energy could be generated from solar panels on city-owned properties, including solar canopies on parking lots, opportunities to incorporate battery storage and potential for community solar initiatives.

“We are very much aware of programs that are out there for grant funding, and I have been pursuing different avenues as to how the city can reduce our carbon footprint,” Brodowski said.

Brodowski explained that applying for this particular grant from Sustainable Jersey was of intrigue given the city’s potential to lessen its carbon footprint in multiple ways. With numerous buildings and open space that could serve as potential locations for solar power, the city deputy mayor said the grant was a valuable opportunity to benefit from.

“We are at a point now where we can use solar and a lot of other renewable energies to power a lot of what we do in town,” Brodowski said. “We have a handful of buildings including City Hall, Old City Hall, Public Works building, Carslake Community Center and our Water Plant that are all used regularly. Based on the available roof space and parking lots, it seemed like there was definite potential to work solar energy into our individual operations, so we wanted to figure out how to do that.”

With an intent to become a greener community, Brodowski explained that part of enacting sustainable practices must be met with enough collected data and information to make sure the municipality is doing them in an effective manner.

“This grant really helps to set it up and figure out how to incorporate solar into our operations the best way possible,” he said. “There are many different options in terms of financing or having it be a shared utility, so it’s a matter of knowing that we want to incorporate solar, but making sure we want to do it in the best, most efficient way possible.

“As we prepare for the study, we are going to have to take a close look at what our energy consumption is, so we have started to do a local energy audit to see how much energy we are using in each of our buildings and how much gasoline and diesel fuel are we using, so we can have a better understanding of where we could, not just reduce our energy usage, but also save money for our operations,” he stated.

Brodowski also said that studies like these can not only help potentially reduce costs for the municipality’s operations, but those previous allocated funds can be applied toward other uses in the city’s operations for the benefit of residents.

“It’s a matter of prioritizing things. The lower the cost that we have for our operations that we can divert into the budget elsewhere is an opportunity to save money somewhere. Then, this is a win-win,” he said.

As the city prepares to gather information and data for the study, city officials are also requesting residents to share their experiences and input with solar energy whether it’s positive or negative.

Residents can contact John Brodowski via email at jbrodowski@cityofbordentown.com to submit their input or to obtain more information.

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