County unveils working solar energy project

October 28, 2013

in Local

By Randy Kirby
Managing editor

“The switch has been flipped and we are generating electricity,” stated Pettis County Presiding Commissioner John Meehan just before taking a small group of people on a tour Monday of the county’s new solar energy project now installed on the roof of the county courthouse at 415 S. Ohio.

MC Power installed the panels over the last several weeks, and the cost savings to the county is estimated to be around $11,000 annually through the generation of three 25KW units, one of which is now in operation at the courthouse. A real-time monitor mounted on the south wall of the first level of the building is visible to all those who want to see how much electricity is being produced by the solar unit on the roof.

Meehan noted that Pettis is one of only a handful of counties in the state that are utilizing solar power in this way. “It’s not anything band new or unique, although it’s somewhat unique to county government,” he said, adding that he thought there are just three or four other county governments in the state of Missouri with similar projects.

With input from a citizens committee and advice from others in the community who have delved into the technology at their home or business, the county decided to undertake this cost-saving project.

“What prompted us to jump on this, was, at that time, there were about a dozen privately-owned businesses in Pettis County that had already (installed ) solar power,” Meehan related.  And it was their recommendation that suggested the county do the same.

Counting rebates on all three units, the total cost to the county is $37,000. “But we’re anticipating savings over the next 25-30 years on average of $11,000 a year,” Meehan said. “So you can see this is genuinely an investment in the future, but the payback comes pretty quick.”

Two more 25KW solar units are slated to be installed on the Sedalia-Pettis County Jail in the very near future, weather permitting. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.

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