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Pickerington looks at solar panels to power facilities
Pickerington has the opportunity to facilitate one of the largest solar panel projects in the state by a governmental entity.
During the Sept. 22 service committee meeting, the committee made a motion to authorize the city manager to write a letter of intent and to move forward in negotiations with Tipping Point Renewable Energy.
The negotiations are regarding the possibility of installing about five acres of solar panels that would power the city’s water treatment facility and provide greener and less expensive power.
“It’s a very exciting project,” City Manager Bill Vance said.
If the project moves forward, Tipping Point estimates that the city could save more than $600,000 over the 20-year lifetime of the panels, said Greg Bachman, the city engineer.
Several other Central Ohio communities also have initiatives under way including Dublin, Powell, Worthington and Columbus, Tipping Point Renewable Energy CEO Eric Zimmer said.
The project would come at no cost to the city.
Tipping Point would finance the design and engineering of the project when it receives a letter of intent and if the project moves forward, it would also maintain the facility, Zimmer explained.
The facility itself would be owned by a group of third party investors, he added.
Tipping Point estimates the city would then be able to buy its power at 6 cents per kilowatt instead of its current rate of 7-1/2 cents per kilowatt, Bachman said.
Tipping Point is able to offer the energy at a lower cost because it sells the federal tax credit and renewable energy credits it receives to the third party investors, Zimmer said.
Governmental entities are not eligible for a tax credit and often aren’t inclined to take the risk that come with renewable energy credits, he said.
These types of transactions are the way that most government entities are able to procure this type of renewable energy, by using some type of third party agreement, he explained.
These projects are “capital intensive” and most government entities don’t have that kind of capital up front, he added.
If the project moves forward, the design and engineering of the project would take approximately 60 days, and from there, the installation could take approximately three to four months, Zimmer said.
The goal would be to have the panels installed in time for the prime solar months, he added.
Zimmer estimates the total cost of the project to be between $5 million and $6 million.
Once negotiations are complete, the issue will return to the committee and then to council for final approval.
|On October 3, 2010 Tomy said:
Oct 3, 2010
To Alexa Libert
Subject Polar panel investment:
I read your article in the Message this week, which has some extremely inaccurate data from Bill Vance( city manager) & Greg Backman ( city engineer), presented by you. The solar investment ( amount bewtween $5 & $6 million for unknow KW capacity) over 20 years cannot even come close to breaking even let along saving $600,000 for the school system. It is a well-established fact that solar energy in 2010 even with the federal rebates cost fives times that of clean coal burning electricity. How can they misrepresent the facts to the citizens of our school distinct like this and sleep each night.
I would admitted them better had you stated they wanted to provide a small amount of solar for educational benefits instead but this is outrageous to claim savings when the facts are so readily available to all.
Actual I support SOLAR ENERGY but cannot resort to distorting the facts. Wind energy cost about twice much as clean coal burning and with the federal rebates it is just starting to become a viable option but anyone electing to install solar must recognize that the investment will not pay for itself before the life expectancy of the panel is reached.
I admire those who do so for environmental reason but please do not try to hoax the public into believing there are sound economic reasons for such a project.
If you truly believe in fair and balanced then I challenge you to research these inaccurate financial figures and then inform the public of your findings.
Pickerington school resident
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