PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission heard a proposal to join into a solar energy project during their worksession Thursday evening.
The project is through American Municipal Power (AMP), a municipal joint-action agency of which the city of Piqua is a member. AMP is currently working with NextEra Energy, Inc., a clean energy company, on a solar energy project that includes 26 potential sites for solar panel installations. There is currently one under construction in Bowling Green that is expected to generate approximately 25 percent of the energy for the project. The project would span across multiple states and service multiple cities.
The goal of the project would be to reduce the amount of energy that the city is purchasing from the market, as the market prices are expected to be higher than those of solar energy prices. Currently, the city is purchasing 17 percent of its energy from the market with other sources of energy coming from clean coal, natural gas, hydroelectric plants, and a wind farm. If the city participates in this solar energy project, the percentage of energy that comes from the market is expected to drop by 3.5 percent.
Don Gruenemeyer, president of Sawvel and Associates, led the presentation, explaining that the project with AMP would be a 31-year agreement ending in 2047. It is estimated that the total cost-savings after 26 years will be $12.7 million, breaking down to $490,000 per year and $0.14 per kWh.
Gruenemeyer also explained that the city received five proposals for other solar energy projects as well, but the cost of participating in AMP’s appeared the lowest after an economic evaluation of those other plans. Gruenemeyer said that the cost of AMP’s plan “starts a little higher and then flattens out over time.” The opposite appeared to happen with the two lowest of the other proposals.
“It’s cheaper than the market, and it’s harder to get projects cheaper than the market,” Gruenemeyer said.
Piqua Power Systems Director Ed Krieger also mentioned that Piqua was identified as a potential Phase II project site, meaning that there is a possibility that Piqua could get a solar field within the city.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336