Solar panels could go up at fire station

By Mary Grzebieniak


A local pharmacist will provide at least $80,000 to put solar panels on one of the township’s fire stations, eventually making it electrically self- sustaining.

Rick Carano, pharmacist and owner of Village Pharmacy in New Middletown, said in response to trustees’ request at their meeting this week that he is open to also putting up money to include the administration building on South Range Road in the plan.

Fire Station 23 in New Springfield and the administration building are the only two township buildings that have the necessary southern exposure for solar panels.

Carano said he will put up the money for a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant application which needs to be submitted by March 31. He said the grant would reimburse 25 percent of the funding.

He said his own costs also will be reduced by a 30 percent tax credit for doing the project and said that since his business is a corporation, he can take accelerated depreciation on the panels.

Rick Leonardo of Energy Solutions in Springfield Township said the solar panels would provide nearly all the energy for the fire station. He anticipated “well over $46,000 savings in electric costs” and that after 12 years, during which the township buys electricity from Carano for 20 percent less than the current rate, the panels would become the township’s property.

Carano said the grant rules require a private- sector entity to be the applicant for the grants. He only needed a letter of intent from trustees, which they provided, but eventually he will need a signed contract.

Trustee Robert Orr noted there will be a future state mandate that will require part of the township’s energy to come from renewable sources, and this would help meet that goal.

Carano is a long-time local advocate of solar energy and renewable-energy resources. He was featured in 2010 on a local television station for offering incentives to employees at the pharmacy to drive hybrid cars and installing solar panels on the pharmacy roof as well as energy-efficient lighting in the pharmacy.

In other business, trustees approved the township’s 2012 budget appropriation at $2.4 million. In 2011, the figure was $2.5 million.

Orr said the Ohio Department of Transportation will pave state Route 170 from the post office in Petersburg south to the county line and also state Route 165 from South Range Road to the Columbiana County line.

In personnel action, trustees accepted Mark Breagar’s resignation as a firefighter and EMT due to his move from the township for a job.

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