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Logan City Installs Nascent Solar Farm

Logan City has installed a nascent solar farm as a pilot project!

Realtime operation can be found here:

With continual effort by the Renewable Energy Advisory Board, last year Logan Light and Power, under Director Jeff White, purchased and installed the equipment. It has been up and running since April -- and running beautifully -- and a buy-in for interested Logan customers is in the works.

In the spring of 2007, the Logan City Council -- citing both environmental and financial concerns -- voted to reject further participation in coal-fired power.

In the aftermath of that decision, the council decided to form a Renewable Energy Advisory Board. In the past five years, the board, working closely with Logan City Environmental Department and the city council, has initiated and supported a collection of actions -- from conservation, to efficiency, to hydro, to wind... and now to solar.

Initially the city subsidized installation of solar on private homes. But ultimately this was seen as an inefficient; the city had no control over the panels -- from maintenance to location. They're only a worthy investment if they're working properly and adding to the grid in the local community.

The notion with a city-owned solar farm is that the photovoltaic panels can be ideally located to take maximum advantage of sun, and can be properly and efficiently maintained. Logan Light and Power purchased approximately 80 panels and installed them as a pilot project. Now the energy needs to be sold to finance more.

The basic plan moving forward, is to allow Logan power customers to purchase blocks of solar energy. The "average" Logan residence uses about 600 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy per month. The nascent solar farm panels, averaged over a full year, produce about 2400 kWh per month. The thought is to sell blocks of 100-kWh, which means enough for 24 people -- or perhaps blocks of 50 kWh, meaning enough for 48 pilot project participants.

Amortizing the cost of the project over it's projected 25-year lifetime, the Renewable Energy Advisory board developed a cost of about 18 cents per kWh. HOWEVER, there are already plans to double the size of the farm. And prices have come down dramatically. Once that installation is in place, the new price will likely be around 14 cents / kWh.

Putting this in context, logan residents currently pay 8.5 cents / kWh for heavily subsidized coal-fired power. Hence, purchasing a block of 100 kwH (currently) would add only about $9.50 to your monthly power bill. And once the next phase is in, this would drop to only $6.50 extra per month (roughly).

Given that this is a pilot project; its success will depend on the public's interest. Administratively, the city isn't quite ready to begin selling the power (issues with billing software). But it is coming soon. In the meantime, the Renewable Energy Advisory Board is looking compile a waiting list of customers for the power.

If you would like to buy-in to this project, you can email or call Emily Malik at Logan City's Environmental Department.

Emily Malik

Additional questions can be directed to:
Robert Davies