Between Austin, San Antonio, Houston & Bryan/College Station
Alternative Energy in Smithville
In June 2010 Smithville was awarded a small American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) formula grant through the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO). These funds paid for energy efficient lighting at several public buildings and a SkyStream Wind Turbine, which is located at the windiest place in Smithville on city property—at the Willow Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant located on the north side of Hwy 71 opposite the highway from the Seton Smithville Hospital.
With the successful implementation of this alternative energy solution, the City of Smithville applied and were approved for another SECO grant. In April 2011, the State Energy Conservation Office officially gave the green light to move forward with the second Smithville grant contract, which provided the majority of the funds needed for a solar array on City Hall’s rooftop.
The Smithville Zoning Code does not specifically mention the use of solar, but the Zoning Clarification Memo confirms that the City of Smithville wishes to encourage the use of accessory photovoltaic systems and confirm for property owners that such systems are allowed in all zoning districts when conforming to certain requirements.
If you are interested in installing a Solar PV at your residence or business, please look over the Smithville Solar Checklist.
Solar Panels at City Hall
The Solar Panels on the roof of City Hall have saved energy, resources, fuel, and CO2 emissions since they were first installed in 2012. (The photo below shows the panel in City Hall as of September 21, 2018.) This live update of the benefits of the solar panels at City Hall are there to help utility customers have an idea of the kinds of benefits that solar panels could make for residential use.
For more information about the solar panels at City Hall, you can download the Q&A Sheet.
Energy Efficiency at Your Home and Business
Even if you are not interested at this time in solar panels to assist with your utility bills or to reduce your carbon footprint, you can make a huge difference in how much energy you need to heat and cool your home or business. You can reduce your electric use by:
- Weatherizing your building,
- Setting your thermostat to 68 in the winter and 78 in the summer and using programmable thermostats, and
- Using landscaping to maximize shade on the building.
This is the easiest, cheapest way to save big on electric bills, and it's so easy everyone can do it. Many of your neighbors are already saving energy and money with these simple methods.
For more ideas and for details on the "what" and the "how," click on to the Department of Energy.
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