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8:49 PM Sun, Sept. 23rd

PV officials tour water storage tanks to learn solar power plans

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Town officials plan to reduce the reliance on electricity from APS by installing solar panels near three water tanks west of the town's boundaries.

The solar panels would provide power to two booster, or pump, stations that adjoin the so-called "tank farm" that lies north of where the pavement ends at Prescott East Highway.

"We would love to supplement the (APS) power with solar power," Capital Projects Coordinator Kim Moon said during a field trip to the site Thursday evening. She talked about plans to locate the panels to the east and north of the tank farm.

Moon and other staffers, the seven Town Council members, three Parks and Recreation commissioners and others attended.

The council voted April 14 to accept incentives from APS and sign agreements with the utility company to encourage the use of solar panels.

Electricity powers the motors that pump water from the booster stations to the storage tanks. Pumps at the duplex booster station move water to the Summit tank about a half a mile to the west and closer to the base of Glassford Hill. The adjoining triplex booster station pumps water to the Granite View tank, which is near the Liberty Kia dealership.

The three 30-foot-high tanks at the farm hold a combined 4 million gallons of water while the 32-foot-high Summit tank holds 1 million gallons, said Mark Kieren, utilities operations manager. He said the Summit tank supplies the Castle Canyon Mesa area. The town has 11 storage tanks.

Kieren and the others in the caravan of vehicles passed a gate on a bumpy dirt road on state trust land to reach the Summit tank. They passed the rock-lined StoneRidge trail, located atop a flood control channel, that heads south to the StoneRidge subdivision south of Highway 69.

While at the Summit tank site, Public Works Director Norm Davis crouched on the ground to point out plans for expanding the multiuse trails near the tanks. Those plans would include extending the 20-foot-wide StoneRidge trail about 3 miles north to the Iron King trail, which begins around Santa Fe Loop.

The StoneRidge trail cannot accommodate people in wheelchairs because it is too steep, Davis said. By contrast, the network of paths along Lakeshore Drive and other developed areas within the town are paved and have flat surfaces.

The town will need to obtain permission and buy right of way from the Arizona State Land Department to build trails on state trust land, Davis said.

The town leases the Summit tank land for the state Land Department. However, it owns the land at the tank farm because the town bought the site from the former Shamrock Water Co., Town Manager Larry Tarkowski said.

Tarkowski and others spent a total of an hour and 10 minutes, including driving time, during the field trip that staff scheduled for a work/study meeting.

The tour provided insight to Mary Mallory, whom voters elected March 8 to the council.

"What I gained is the fact that we have some absolutely terrific ideas coming into the area - future trails and how that is a wonderful thing," she said.

It also turned out to be a learning experience for Vanessa Sanchez, a junior at Bradshaw Mountain High School who participated the previous Thursday in Student in Government Day.

"I just love experiencing how government works," she said.