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County moving forward with solar energy project

August 30, 2013

in Local

 

Workers spent over three hours Friday morning installing solar panels on the southwest corner of the Pettis County Courthouse.

By Kyle Siegel
Staff writer

The Sedalia News-Journal recently had a chance to sit down and speak with Pettis County Presiding Commissioner John Meehan about the solar energy project that is currently underway at two Pettis County buildings.

Recently KCP&L approved the application from Pettis County to install three 25kw net metering rooftop PV solar systems. The project, which was researched and recommended by the Pettis County Renewable Energy Committee, was approved by the Pettis County Commissioner’s Office and requests for bids were sent out to several businesses dealing with solar energy.

“We pulled in six different companies that offered solar options. Then we studied the electricity demands of the county. By having these two pieces of information we were able to study all options and choose the best option for Pettis County,” Meehan explained.

He added, “The committee then selected the lowest and best bid, and then made their recommendation to the Pettis County Commission. The county commission reviewed and accepted the committees’ recommendation.”

The lowest bid meeting the criteria set forth by the commission was from MC Power out of Columbia, Missouri. The total cost for the project will be $186,945.42 before rebates from KCP&L come in. Those rebates total $150,000.00. With the rebates, the total cost to the citizens of Pettis County comes to $36,945.42.

“That is a one-time expense that will save the county $11,000.00 year,” Meehan explained.

It has been estimated that Pettis County will save an average of $11,000.00 a year for the next 25 to 30 years. This is a significant amount over that time frame.

It is also estimated that close to 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide will be eliminated from Pettis County’s carbon footprint over the life of the panels.

Presiding Commissioner John Meehan was asked to speak on the amount of money spent on utilities for all the county buildings.

“We spend a tremendous amount of money on utilities. When you add it all up, we spend almost $350,000 annually on utility expenses for all of our buildings,” Meehan said.

Mr. Meehan was asked when the project began and what the work has entailed.

“Work has already begun. It was one day last week that they began. There is a process that is involved and we don’t have the solar panels on site yet. There is some preliminary electrical work that needs to be done first. The contractor is onsite everyday and they are waiting for the panels to be delivered,” Meehan said.

The project was put into motion several months ago, but had to wait for the go ahead from KCP&L for the rebate approval. There were a large number of rebate requests made and KCP&L had to process all of those requests.

“Everyone has assured us that there won’t be any problems with our funding due to our timing. Because of the large number of requests that KCP&L have received, it took them the full 90 days to approve our application,” Meehan said.

Meehan doesn’t want the citizens of Pettis County to forget that previous commissions did their part to be conscious of energy saving methods for the county.

“The current commission is no different that the commissions that have served before. They had the insight to put in tinted, double-paned windows for the courthouse and ground source heating and cooling. We are just following in the footsteps of those who have came before,” Meehan stated. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.

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