Cities pursue solar power through different strategies
In efforts to go green while saving money, cities are investing in solar power, albeit through different means.
Some cities are installing solar panels in their jurisdictions. Newton, Mass. first implemented a multi-phase solar power program in the city a few years ago, according to Wicked Local Newton. The first phase had solar panels installed on municipal buildings and schools; that phase is saving the city $90,000 per year. The second phase, which the city is currently implementing as of late July, involves solar panels being installed on more schools, a fire station, a landfill and a community center.
This phase is expected to save the city $500,000, Wicked Local Newton reports. A third phase is also under development.
“People are very, very happy in Newton that the city is using its land to develop solar power,” Andrew Savitz, Newton’s sustainability director told Wicked Local Newton. “The reason is not only is it good for the environment but it generates revenue for the city. And it is generating revenue in an unused space. It is like found money.”
Other cities are buying solar power from existing solar farms. Universal City, Texas, announced in late July that it is buying a portion of community solar company Clean Energy and utility CPS Energy’s Collective’s CPS Energy Roofless Community Solar Array, according to Solar Industry Magazine.
The 1.2 Megawatt, 11,280 panel array, is projected to begin producing power in a few weeks, and Universal City has bought 77 kilowatts, or approximately 715 panels, Solar Industry Magazine reports. The array is located just outside of San Antonio, Texas.
Still other cities are opening their own solar energy storage systems. The municipally-owned Norwich, Conn. Public Utilities (NPU) converted a former dairy farm into its own solar array, the New Haven Register reports. The 15-acre dairy farm had been in operation for seven generations, but is now home to over 15,000 solar panels.
“It is our hope that this project enjoys the same longevity as we provide thousands of Connecticut residents and businesses with clean and renewable energy for years to come,” Drew Rankin, chief executive officer of the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (CMEEC), told the Register.
The Mountain Ash Solar Farm, which NPU and CMEEC developed in partnership with SolarCity and Brightfields Development, is the largest solar and energy storage system in Connecticut, Norwich Patch reports.
SolarCity will operate the development, which is expected to power over 8,400 homes per year, according to the Register.
“I think this solar garden is an extraordinary example of what can be accomplished for the benefit of all through public/private partnerships,” Connecticut Senator Cathy Osten said in a news release.