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Officials looking at use of solar energy

November 19, 2012
Morning Journal News

LEETONIA - The school board is looking at possible use of solar energy at the K-12 campus.

Eric Zimmer, CEO of Tipping Point Renewable Energy, spoke to the board Thursday night about installing a solar power system at the campus that could ease the cost of electricity for the district.

According to Zimmer, solar electric technology is a mature technology that has been around for several decades. It is pollution free and has no moving parts that need to be maintained, he said, which means the district could save money through lower bills and a predictable budget.

Zimmer said the system would be hooked into the electricity grid so that whenever energy is not being drawn from the sun, it would be drawn from the grid. Any energy drawn from the sun would be credited on the electric meter, he noted.

If the district does opt for the solar power system, Tipping Point offers 20-year power purchase agreements at 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour and zero upfront capital. Zimmer said the district is currently paying just over 7 cents per kilowatt hour through Ohio Edison. There is a 25-year warranty that the panels will be generating at least at 80 percent capacity in year 25 as they did in year one of the agreement.

The current proposal for the system includes 2,308 5.5-foot tall fixed panels in the yard along Walnut Street.

Established three years ago, Tipping Point serves as a project developer that seeks third-party investors for solar power systems. Clients exclusively include school districts, municipalities and businesses such as the Licking Valley School District and the City of Columbus. Zimmer explained that the partnership is beneficial to all parties because the district saves money on energy bills while Tipping Point makes money on the project development and the investors make money on federal tax incentives and state renewable energy credits.

Acknowledging that the use of solar power is dependent on the future speculations of electric prices, the school board agreed to investigate the opportunity and discuss it at a later time.

Kevin Howell can be reached at khowell@salemnews.net

 
 
 

 

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