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Solar panels coming to Hillsboro

Staff writer

A new solar agreement with the Kansas Power Pool will be an important step for the Hillsboro’s future, councilman Jonah Gehring said Tuesday.

“It opens the door to understanding, training, and development in the future,” he said.

The number or size of panels to be installed under the plan approved Tuesday by the city council has not been determined. However, it will have capacity to produce 25-kilowatt-hours, city administrator Larry Paine said.

“It’s not much, just enough to show we have a presence,” he said. “In terms of capacity, it’s not a lot, but it can be added to in the future.”

Any electricity generated will be sent to the power pool, a municipal electric cooperative, and Hillsboro will receive a credit on its monthly bill.

Project costs are estimated at $50,000, which will be split between the city and the power pool.

Electricity produced will be enough to power only three homes, but it will provide city workers the knowledge to work with solar panels in the future, Paine said.

“It’s conceptual learning about how to deal with solar,” Mayor Lou Thurston said. “In the future we’re going to see more solar, so it’s an educational piece.”

In other business Tuesday, Paine said the city should expand roadwork to include new sidewalks wherever street surfaces are upgraded.

“Right next to it, there are some less than desirable visuals for the sidewalk, where it’s all cracked up,” Paine said.

If sidewalks are redone, a major task will be bypassing tree roots, Thurston said.

“How do we keep these roots from being a problem in the future,” he said. “We all want trees and love our tree-lined streets, but that causes an issue with the concrete.”

One possibility is to insert a piece of metal vertically in the ground to prevent tree roots from pushing under portions of sidewalk. Street supervisor Dale Dalke said this method was used for a 20-foot portion of sidewalk near Schaeffler House.

“It’s working so far,” he said. “I’m sure at some point it will fall, but maybe it will help for a while.”

The council also approved a payment of $11,384 to Triplett Woolf Garretson LLC for legal services in Hillsboro Community Hospital’s bankruptcy lawsuit.

Last modified June 6, 2019

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