Landfills. Bus garages. Airports. What do they all have in common? Possible locations for solar projects.
Around the country, municipalities are seeing their facilities in a new light as councils explore energy production on public property.
Elk Rapids joined the movement last week, when the village council signaled the go-ahead to get a detailed proposal on a clean-energy investment from Grand Rapids-based Powerhome Solar & Roofing.
A company representative said they’d investigate solar options at an old dump near the wastewater plant, the village’s harbor and the administration building, with an expected report in July.
The village’s public works department also recently hired Nathan Callison, who worked in Northport where officials installed solar panels and a wind turbine.
This is one of several area projects. Nearby, the city of Petoskey in exploring local solar sites, and according to the Petoskey News-Review, one of the most promising is “floating” an array on a former city landfill.
We like how the clean energy policy specialist broke it down for the News-Review: the landfill is big, the city already owns it — plus, it can’t be used for anything else.
Many governments have clean energy goals — ours among them. We applaud efforts like these, and know it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario.
We support autonomy in tackling these goals, and in having a diverse portfolio of energy options.
Luckily there are a growing number of options out there, from investing through traditional distribution channels, to using Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, funding — which bridges private lenders with governments (special assessment districts) to encourage clean energy upgrades on commercial, government and residential property.
PACE stretches out the time frames on loans, so that cost savings are realized immediately instead of waiting for a long-term return on investment.
Governments need to find the right fit for their taxpaying public.
This means hawk-eyed scrutiny on behalf of those footing the bill. There are many and varied interests in this burgeoning industry and, to move forward, projects need both public support and scrutiny.
As Cherryland Electric Cooperative general manager Tony Anderson warned those looking at home solar, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Clean energy is a win for all of us — with plenty of sunlight in the process.