It looks like the City of Tallahassee will be relying more on solar power in the coming years.
Back on June 24, 2015, the City Commission authorized staff to negotiate the purchase of energy from a 10 MWAC Solar facility to be built in Tallahassee. In the process of these negotiations, staff recognized the opportunity to increase the size of the project and realize additional savings.
The City staff is now seeking approval to increase the project size from 10 MW to 20 MW, and for the City Manager to execute a related Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and Land Lease once they are negotiated.
Sources with the City told TR that the continued reductions in the cost of Solar Photovoltaic (Solar PV) technology and growing interest in clean energy, have made solar power more attractive as a potential energy resource for the City’s electric system.
However, the current project has not been without issues.
The top ranked proposer First Solar, after seven months of negotiations, made the business decision to withdraw from the process and terminated all negotiations with the City.
As a result of First Solar’s actions, staff contacted the 2nd and 3rd ranked proposers – Origis Energy and Pine Gate Development. Both responded that their current project load could accommodate the City’s project. Negotiations have begun with Origis Energy with a goal of contracting by the end of March 2016.
Based on the staff report, Origis Energy built the first utility-scale solar project in the State of Georgia and connected to the Georgia Power Company. The project is a 20 MW facility on 100 acres and is located between Pelham and Camilla, Georgia.
Staff visited the Origis project in Georgia and found the design and layout would be identical for the City project. The project design and Origis’ chosen solar technology allow for twice the output in the same 100 acre footprint required by First Solar.
If the City Commission votes to move forward, staff estimates the project will produce about 2% of the total system energy needs.