City to go solar
The city is going solar.
City Council members approved, with a 5-2 vote Tuesday night, a complicated 20-year agreement to have solar panels installed on parking structures at several buildings.
A third party investor known as LHC Solar, LLC would construct, own and maintain the solar structures, while city officials anticipate the project could save the city nearly $1.4 million in energy costs during the length of the agreement. LHC Solar would sell the solar generated power to the city at a negotiated price.
Councilmen David McAtlin and Don Callahan said they were skeptical of the projected savings and didn’t like the subsidies that are being used for the project.
A majority of the council said it was important that the city take advantage of the Renewable Energy Credits it received from UniSource Energy Services to help cut its energy costs.
“We pay no money up front for this,” said Mayor Mark Nexsen. “It all works because of the rebates —federal and state tax credits.”
Nexsen said he also liked that LHC Solar, LLC would be installing solar panels on new vehicle shade structures at different city buildings.
The covered parking structures and subsequent solar panels would be put in place at City Hall, 2330 N. McCulloch Blvd.; Police Facility, 2360 N. McCulloch Blvd.; Public Works Facility, 900 London Bridge Road; and the Aquatic Community Center, 100 Park Ave.
Physical construction of the parking shade structures and solar panels is expected to begin next month and be finished by Nov. 30, said Finance Director Valerie Fenske.
While the third party agreement might seem a bit unusual, it is more of a common way for governmental entities to make solar energy projects work, Fenske said. She said the city she used to work for, Prescott Valley, recently worked out a solar energy agreement with a third party.
The solar panels themselves have a 25-year warranty and at the end of the 20 years, the city will have the option to purchase them from LHC Solar, according to the agreement.
Solar power price will be fixed in the contract which supporters say will allow the city to avoid the volatility caused by unplanned utility rate increases.
Source: Havasu News (http://www.havasunews.com/articles/2012/06/28/news/doc4febe35a284ff692858411.txt)