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Dothan treatment plant could soon be partially powered by the sun
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Dothan treatment plant could soon be partially powered by the sun

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Alabama Municipal Electric Authority president and CEO Fred Clark stands in front of some solar panels at Westgate Park in November 2017.

As Dothan continues its foray into alternative energy usage, one of the city’s largest wastewater treatment plants could soon use solar energy if it lands a state grant.

Dothan Utilities is hoping to install a small solar panel farm at the Choctawhatchee Wastewater Treatment Plant, one of its larger treatment facilities, to generate power. The goal is to save the city some money on energy bills.

“They’re a pretty large electric consumer,” Chris Phillips, assistant director of electric operations, said. “This will offset a small portion of what they use.”

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The Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, Dothan Utilities’ power supplier, is applying for a grant for Energy-Efficient Retrofits of Wastewater Treatment Facilities from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Energy Division for the purchase and installation of solar equipment estimated to cost $65,000.

AMEA is planning to provide solar panels left over from its solar panel research project that installed solar panel farms in all 11 of its member cities, including one on Westgate Parkway, to see if solar energy was viable in Alabama. Dothan Utilities workers will help with installation of some of the solar equipment.

If Dothan Utilities lands the grant, the solar farm will be half the size of the Westgate Parkway solar farm and among a few alternative energy initiatives the city has launched in 2021, Phillips said.

Earlier this year, Dothan’s first public electric charging stations for electric vehicles were successfully installed downtown and Dothan Utilities bought two electric vehicles for its fleet.

Sable Riley is a Dothan Eagle staff writer and can be reached at sriley@dothaneagle.com or 334.712.7915. Support her work and that of other Eagle journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at dothaneagle.com.

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