solar energy

BG and county may team up for ‘community solar’ field

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green and Wood County may be teaming up on bright idea for the area. The city has approached the Wood County commissioners about using county land for another solar field. There are currently 70 open acres on the north side of East Gypsy Lane Road, between Interstate 75 and Wood Lane. Fifty acres are owned by the county and 20 by the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities. If the solar field becomes a reality, it would likely be a “community solar” project – which means Bowling Green residents and businesses could sign up to be part of the project and get their electricity from the solar field, said Brian O’Connell, director of public utilities for the city. That would make this different from the 165-acre solar field recently constructed on city land at Carter and Newton roads northeast of Bowling Green. Bowling Green gets a portion of the power generated at that solar field – enough to supply nearly 5 percent of the city’s energy needs. By building a “community solar” project, all of the energy created at the proposed site could be used to power Bowling Green, O’Connell said. The city’s proposal was presented to the Wood County commissioners last week. It would require the county to commit the acreage to the project for 30 years. The property is currently rented out as farmland. The commissioners were interested in the idea, said Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar. “They said they were willing to consider it. We don’t see any county building boom” on the East Gypsy Lane property, Kalmar said. The county may be interested in using some of the solar power for its facilities on East Gypsy Lane. “We would certainly be willing to talk to them about it,” Kalmar said. The lease proposal from the city has been sent to the county prosecutor’s office for review. O’Connell stressed that the proposal is still in the discussion stage,…

BG solar field can power up to 3,000 homes

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Mayor Dick Edwards was beaming as he announced that the recent sunny days have led to some good numbers at the Bowling Green solar field – the largest solar installation in Ohio. On the best day so far, the solar field generated 19.6 megawatts of energy. “The sun is cooperating,” Edwards said during Monday’s City Council meeting. The 165-acre solar field, located at the corner of Newton and Carter roads, northeast of the city,  consists of more than 85,000 solar panels and is capable of producing 20-megawatts of alternating current electricity. In an average year, the solar field is expected to produce an equivalent amount of energy needed to power approximately 3,000 homes. It will also avoid approximately 25,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year since the energy is generated from a non-fossil fuel resource. “That’s an amazing factoid there,” Edwards said. Along with sustainable benefits, the project will also have economic benefits for the city, according to city officials. By having the generation supplied “behind the meter,” the city will see lower capacity and transmission charges, as well as on-peak energy delivered at times when customer demand for electricity is highest. “We are excited to see this project come online and start delivering power to our customers,” Bowling Green Utilities Director Brian O’Connell said. “Like the wind turbine project, we are looking forward to many years of a local and renewable resource.” The site was built and is owned and operated by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC. The power generated will be sold to American Municipal Power Inc. under a multi-year contract. AMP will then sell this clean energy to the city and other participating AMP member utilities. AMP partnered with NextEra to construct and operate up to 80 MW of new solar generation in other member communities. Additional solar sites are already under construction and more are planned in Ohio, Michigan and Delaware. “Great work to…

BG plugs into power from new solar field

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The sun may be hiding most days recently, but Bowling Green’s new solar field is producing power. The gray days of January aren’t allowing full power generation yet, but on sunny days, the site is producing close to 14 megawatts of power, according to Bowling Green Utilities Director Brian O’Connell. “We should see better production as we get into spring and summer,” O’Connell said during a City Council meeting Tuesday evening. “But we are getting power from it right now.” According to Mayor Dick Edwards, 40 percent of the city’s energy now comes from renewable sources. An estimated 2,900 homes in the city will be powered by sunlight. The new solar field, which sits on 165 acres northeast of the city near the corner of Carter and Newton roads, has more than 85,000 solar panels, O’Connell said. The panels rotate with the sun during the day to get maximum power. The solar field is expected generate 20 megawatts, with Bowling Green getting 13.74 megawatts of the power for its customers. The solar field is the largest solar power generation site in Ohio. American Municipal Power Inc. had planned to own and operate the solar sites in multiple communities. However, AMP was not eligible for federal investment tax credit. So AMP entered into an agreement with NextEra, a third party solar developer. NextEra, which qualifies for the tax credits, is one of the largest generators of solar energy in the U.S. with more than 700 megawatts of solar generation. Since the project now qualifies for federal tax credit, it will cost the city less in the long run. With the original solar plan, it was estimated the city would see a 1.1 percent increase in its power supply costs. That increase was erased with the new proposal. Also at Tuesday’s council meeting, Doug Isaacson was sworn in as the city’s deputy fire chief. Isaacson has more than 35 years with the fire division….