LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) – Solar panels have been installed at two Lexington fire stations as part of a long-term, renewable energy initiative.
Lexington fire officials say Station 7, on Tates Creek Road, and Station 15, in Shillito Park, are well-suited for the use of solar energy panels because both have southern exposures and the appropriate roof pitch.
Generally, fire stations are considered “energy intensive,” because firefighters occupy them and are constantly using communication systems. In addition, fire apparatus exhaust systems and other equipment require using an above average amount of electricity.
“Finding new efficiencies is always a priority for our City. We constantly look for ways to do more through efficiencies and innovative approaches,” said Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton. “Over the long-term, solar energy can be a good way to save money, while also protecting the environment. It’s good to see our Fire Department leading the way.”
Fire Chief Jason Wells said, “The fire department exists to serve the needs of the community, and part of that responsibility means being judicious with the resources we are offered. We are excited to be on the ground level of such an exciting initiative.”
The solar systems, which went live during the month of March, are expected to supply 30-40% of the energy that is required to operate the two fire stations.
The solar panels were funded by the City’s Energy Improvement Fund, which invested approximately $30,000 at each of the stations. James Bush, in the Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works, leads the City’s Energy Initiatives Section and managed the project. “We’ve focused on energy efficiency for years,” Bush stated. “Now we’re at a point where using solar panels to generate energy is a cost effective option to consider.”
There is no word on when other Lexington fire stations may be following suit by adding solar panels.