Like businesses, communities must continue to innovate because standing still isn’t enough to stay alive. While innovation is necessary it is also risky and can have set backs along with rewards. The Wilmington Solar Field is a project that allowed the City of Wilmington to practice and demonstrate innovation and see economic gains with little risk.
In the Fall of 2009 ECC partnered with the City of Wilmington on an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant to do a commercial-grade solar installation at a City-owned industrial site. After winning grant funding, the City was able to install a 56kw system at the former Randall Textron facility (a brownfield remediation site) now owned by the City of Wilmington (fittingly located right by the Luther Warren Peace trail).
The panels are projected to provide a 20% on the $352,600 grant by generating nearly $500,000 in combine savings and Renewable Energy Credits. The city was able to obtain the grant without having to put up any local funds thus producing only a net gain locally.
This project marked a milestone for the City of Wilmington, as it was the first of its kind in the community and was a demonstration of the community’s desire to complete new and quite challenging projects in order to better understand the potential impact for various innovative opportunities.