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Popular City Plunge Getting Solar Panels
POOL pix
Shown in this rendering, solar panels will be installed at the Plunge, the Oakdale community pool, as a way to cut down on energy costs. - photo by Image Contributed

Splish splash, The Plunge is going green – with solar energy, that is.

Monday night, March 5, Oakdale City Council members approved a resolution awarding First Light Energy a contract to upgrade the pool’s existing energy infrastructure for an estimated $3,300 per year in energy cost savings.

First Light Energy, an Oakdale company, was awarded the $51,461 contract to install solar panels above the pool equipment area, which would not only create a savings in overall energy costs but would also protect the pool equipment area from UV damage.

Although The Plunge recently underwent a much-needed upgrade with new equipment, the upgrade did not include an overhead covering. To extend the life of the new equipment, a roof was considered at an estimated cost of $25,500 but city staff determined that installing solar panels would serve dual purposes and save money.

First Light Energy was among multiple solar energy companies to submit a bid in 2015 when the City of Oakdale began researching solar opportunities and ultimately won the contract as they specialize in small roof projects, had competitive pricing and are local.

The proposed project includes installing a roof covering that will protect the pool equipment, an aesthetic design that is pleasing to the eye and flows with the surrounding area as well as a small, slatted fence system that will hide the solar panels from the street view.

The purchase agreement will also include continual monitoring of the energy use as well as customer support through First Light Energy.

The purchase will not impact the General Fund as the project will be paid for by funds donated to the City by the Oakdale Irrigation District in the amount of $100,000.

With the projected savings, the solar panels should pay for themselves in eight years.