Selling solar

By on January 3, 2018

Borough council approved the construction of a solar power facility off Springhouse Road

The new year is looking brighter for Ephrata Borough due to an agreement reached in late December with a solar power company.

Turning Point Energy, based in Denver, Colo., will build a solar power facility off Springhouse Road, with the electricity generated headed to the borough, for use by borough residents.

“We’re one step closer to generating some of our own power,” said Thomas Reinhold, board vice-president. “The intent is, a year from now, we may have an operational solar farm, which should help our customers.”

All solar power generated will be funneled to the borough’s electrical distribution site at Church Street.

The land has been leased to the Turning Point company for 25 years, said Borough Manager D. Robert Thompson.

The borough has agreed to purchase all the power generated, and in return, the solar company will develop and maintain the site.

“We provide the land and they’ll be installing panels and providing resources for the local market,” Reinhold said.

The land was leased to the solar company for a minimal amount in order to keep power costs down, Thompson added.

The solar plant may be up and running by the fourth quarter of this coming year, Reinhold said.

“The benefit is, when you generate power, we won’t have to go out on the market (looking for electricity) so you’re not paying that distribution fee,” Reinhold said. “Whenever you can generate your own electricity, you’ll save money.”

The first meeting of 2018 served as the Borough’s reorganization meeting.

Mayor Ralph E. Mowen was sworn in by District Judge Tony Russell.

“I’ve been associated with the borough for 40 years and you won’t find a better group of people (as the council),” Russell said. “Thank you for all the time you put into serving the community.”

In turn, Mowen swore in council members elected this year. They are Victor Richard, Tim Barr, Susan Rowe, Thomas Reinhold, and Greg Zimmerman.

Rowe was again voted council president, Reinhold was again confirmed as vice-president by unanimous votes — no other council members were nominated.

All council members promised to “support, obey, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Commonwealth,” and to “discharge duties of the office with fidelity.”

“I look forward to another great year,” said councilwoman Linda Martin, whose seat was not up for a vote this year.

“I’m excited to be able to serve the community for the next four years,” Reinhold said. “And I’m humbled to be elected vice-president again.”

Barr also expressed his thanks at being able to serve the community once more.

“2018 is going to be a great year,” said Mayor Mowen. “I look forward to working with everybody in the coming year.”

Mowen will also be the borough’s representative to the Ephrata Borough Authority, and Reinhold will be the representative to the Ephrata Area Joint Authority.

At next week’s borough meeting, Council will be voting on a resolution to add authorized parking at 333 N. State Street for a loading and unloading zone, said Ricky Ressler, chairman of the highway committee.

Council will also review six applications for traffic signal improvements to upgrade the signal sizes at six intersections in the borough for emergency vehicles.

PennDOT requires that the borough complete all six applications to move the project forward to the final design, bidding for services, and construction.

If approved, council will adopt a resolution to continue the applications.

The next regular council meeting will be Monday, Jan. 8, beginning at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

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