Pittsburgh solar panel installer gets inside track to Indiana sewer plant project

Indiana Gazette
February 21, 2024

A Pittsburgh-based solar panel installer appears to have the inside track to providing panels to the Indiana Wastewater Treatment Plant in Center Township.

At a work session Tuesday night, Indiana Borough Council accepted a tentative $1.2 million bid from EIS Solar, though a senior program manager for Pennsylvania Solar Center said a negotiating process still must be completed — including approval from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PennVEST).

EIS Solar and Envinity Inc. of State College were among companies that answered the borough’s request for proposals for a system that offset 25 percent of the electricity consumed by the treatment plant, the largest user of electricity among borough assets.

Project manager Amelia Eggan of Plum Borough told borough officials that there is hope the project also could get a rebate of up to 10 cents per kilowatt hour under Act 129, Pennsylvania’s flagship energy efficiency law.

Eggan said EIS wants to do the WWTP project in two phases, one of which could be completed early next year, the other in 18 to 24 months.

It was one of several matters taken up at a work session that was, in turn, part of a night that also featured monthly meetings of council’s Administration and Public Works committees.

There were action items out of both committees. As moved by Councilwoman Tamara Collazzo and seconded by Councilwoman Jessica Frick, the full council voted 8-0 to correct a clerical error in a contract that had been approved by council earlier this month.

The error came up in the Feb. 6 agenda when council awarded an electrical contract reportedly valued at $1.3 million as part of plans for revamping the municipal building.

Instead, council rescinded that award and instead made what consultant Stiffler McGraw originally had listed from Mashan Inc., $575,000.

As approved Feb. 6, the clerical error caused the Mashan bid to be listed as being the same as the $1.3 million bid from Hranec Sheet Metal Inc. for the project heating, ventilation and air conditioning contract.

In turn, that lowered the overall cost for the borough building work from $5.49 million to $4.8 million, and borough Manager Nichole Sipos said there may be a further reduction of the Mashan bid in a $16,800 change order.

Council also approved a proposal from Ray I. Winters and Sons for emergency sewer repair near Specialty Tire for $15,800. The repair work also includes $4,650 worth of pipe that will be covered by the property owner, which also owns Regency Mall.

In other business Tuesday, Mayor William B. Simmons said he and Sipos will be involved in a meeting tonight that is part of a two-night series of meetings involving all 38 Indiana County municipalities.

It is the latest series of steps in the development of a county-wide emergency service authority, which would deal with firefighting and ambulance operations.

“The idea is to get coverage across the whole of the county,” said Simmons, who also is president of Citizens’ Ambulance Service. He hopes a contract can be reached with Citizens that would keep it whole under the new authority.

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