The City of Tallahassee hosted a community meeting on Thursday, Jan. 11, at the Tallahassee International Airport where Origis Energy provided an overview of the recently completed solar farm and an update on the expansion of the solar program.
The meeting also allowed project managers to share details about the new solar farm and answer questions from utility customers.
Information provided at the meeting verified that Origis Energy is a privately held company by investors that reside outside the United States.
Tallahassee Reports recently published a story about how payments made by customers will benefit a foreign company and will have a negative impact on the local economy.
When asked about jobs created by the new solar farm, Johan Vanhee, who serves as Managing Director of Operations and Business Development with Origis, said that solar farms are not labor intensive and the project will not create any recurring jobs.
Vanhee also verified that the $32 million Origis project would benefit from a $9 million tax credit funded by U.S taxpayers.
One question by a citizen about where the solar panels were manufactured was never completely answered.
Vanhee said the panels were purchased from an “American holding company,” but he said he did not know where the panels were manufactured.
At the meeting, Reese Goad, the Acting City Manager, verified that the City of Tallahassee is interested in adding as much solar “as we can get.”
Also, in a contentious part of the meeting, Goad fielded questions about how the city’s solar subscription program is competing with local solar companies.
Goad said the subscription program allows for people who, for various reasons -such as too many trees in their yard, are not able to use roof top solar.
However, Goad did confirm that even homes that would benefit from roof top solar can opt to subscribe to the city program.
Goad said the City is not competing with local solar companies.
However, Matt Chentnik, thew owner of a local solar company, sees it differently.
“The solar subscription program hurts us. It is in direct competition with us,” Chentnik said. “The city is going after our customer base. We have lost customers already.”