Solar Power Lights Up Delaware Volunteer Fire Company

Delaware-based Cermet Materials manufactures screen-printable conductive pastes for the thin-film photovoltaic (PV) industry. Several of the company’s employees are also local volunteer firefighters. So, when Cermet Materials owners Charlie Falletta and Pansy Tong were approached by their employees about financing a solar energy system for their local volunteer fire department, the project must have seemed like a no-brainer.

Working with Cermet Materials, the Belvedere Fire Company in Wilmington now hosts a 50-kilowatt (kW) PV system. The system will generate 65,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, and offset 44.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. It is estimated to meet about one-third of the facility’s electricity demand, saving the fire station approximately $400,000 in energy costs over the lifetime of the system.

belvedere ribbon cutting

image via Delaware Department of Natural Resources

“We are committed to the solar industry, and to supporting the use and growth of solar as a clean, renewable power source,” said Cermet Materials owner Charlie Falletta. “This project also allowed us to help out a volunteer group that provides a vital public service to the residents of Wilmington.”

The project was installed by Newark-based KW Solar Solutions. The system’s 208 240-watt solar panels were manufactured in Newark by Motech Americas. Other system components were purchased through United Electric, a Delaware-based electrical supply company in New Castle.

In addition to the funds provided by Cermet Materials, the project also received a $68,400 grant from the Delaware Green Energy Program, administered by the DNREC Division of Energy and Climate. The entire project cost $273,951.

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

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