City Commissioners to Vote on Powering City Facilities with Solar

City Commissioners to Vote on Powering City Facilities with Solar

Following the completion of Tallahassee’s second solar farm at the airport, Tallahassee City Commissioners will vote on introducing an ordinance amending the solar farm customer participation program at their Feb. 12 meeting.

The amendment will add the second solar farm to the customer participation program and reserve enough output for the City to power 100% of its facilities with solar energy.

In January 2018, Tallahassee’s first solar farm began operations, and the City initiated Tallahassee Solar, an optional program that allows electric customers to designate portions of their electricity consumption as solar energy without needing to personally own solar equipment.

Through the program, energy output from the solar farm is directly fed into the power grid in place of some fossil fuel energy. Residential and commercial customers can designate 25%, 50% or 100% of their monthly electricity consumption as solar energy, which is billed at five cents per kWh, a rate that will be fixed until 2037.

The program is currently at capacity with a waiting list of nearly 400 customers.

The annual output of the first solar farm is 37 million kWh. Now, with the second farm operating, an additional 80 million kWh will be available for use after the ordinance is modified.

Staff recommends that the City subscribe to enough solar output to power all of its facilities, which required around 92 million kWhs in FY 2019.

According to the meeting agenda, the cost of the change is estimated to be $440,000 per year.

“Because solar subscribers currently pay a higher fuel rate for solar energy (5 cents vs 3 cents), City departments will see a minimal change in their utility costs in the short term,” staff reports. “Based upon the current fuel rate, City departments would incur utility expenses of about $440,000 per year. Across 25 departments and 243 service points, this would be a 1.1% change to the total City utility budget of $38.4 million.”

If the City transitions to powering all of its facilities with solar energy, the remaining output from the solar farms will be available for commercial and residential customers to subscribe to.

If the Commissioners vote to introduce the ordinance, a public hearing will be scheduled for Feb. 26, 2020.

9 Responses to "City Commissioners to Vote on Powering City Facilities with Solar"

  1. If this is really what they want, then the City Commissioners need to pay the $440,000.00 premium each and every year, not the local tax payers or utility customers.

  2. Its marketing. The solar power is mixed in with the gas power. EVERYONE will be solar powered. Some people will just pay more for it.

  3. I thought Local Government is supposed to try to SAVE Money, NOT waste it. The City should NOT get on Solar until it becomes CHEAPER to do so since it is the TAX PAYERS paying for it.

  4. Waste of money. The Committee is falling victim to the great solar scam….solar panels only last 15 years and must be replaced….Los of $$. The panels are obviously subject to hail and hurricane damage. Insurance companies will not insure the roof of a house with solar and it is a reasonable assumption that they would not insure solar fields . The materials used in photovoltaic cells are toxic (for you “green” people).

  5. No they are not telling the entire story. They also used out of state and out of the USA based companies to build the airport solar farms instead of local solar companies. Not a very smart move if you really want to be a top renewable energy city that helps build this new industry with local talent and local companies with roots in the area. The solar subscriptions are a scam and they know it. Unless they run dedicated wiring from the solar farms to each subscribers home or business they won’t get just solar produced electricity. The solar farm power output is combined with the existing fossil fuel powered City generators and all of it gets sent over the same existing power lines. So they are taking federal solar tax credits they are not eligible for to build these farms by using PPAs, misleading citizens while charging them a premium for something they really don’t get, snubbing their noses at local solar companies that provide lots of jobs and training, and simultaneously trying to discourage the use of privately owned solar with misleading solar subscriptions. It’s all about power, money and trying to keep the cash cow electric utility monopoly in place. If you really want to be sure you get solar, help the environment and get electric bill freedom for life, install your own solar power system on your own property. That is the only true way to become “your own utility” and be certain you are producing and using solar energy. I assure you the sunlight is just as powerful at your house as it is at the City solar farms. Privately owned solar has never been more efficient and more cost effective. More solar is good no matter where it is or what it helps power, but the city subscriptions are nothing more than a “monopoly utility protection project” disguised in a really deceptive. Don’t fall for it citizens of Tallahassee.

    1. Spot on, Richard.
      The solar is fed into the grid.
      It does NOT go directly to the premium-paying “marks”…I mean subscribers. Not without a direct wire, which would be an astronomical expense.
      It’s just a marketing scheme, preying on the clueless local green wannabes.
      I’d love to know exactly where the power actually gets used (probably TLH, and nearby businesses/residences.) But the city would never tell.
      And what happens when the panels stop working? Who will pay for that?

  6. I don’t see a benefit to doing this. It costs the taxpayers nearly half a million dollars but does it reduce grab house gases? I suspect they aren’t telling us the full story.

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