- Associated Press - Sunday, November 23, 2014

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) - A new park being built as one of Richmond’s Stellar Communities projects could feature solar panels under a partnership between the city and a local utility.

The Palladium-Item reports (https://pinews.co/1vpFNFF ) Richmond Power & Light’s board of directors has approved spending $170,000 to build the solar-paneled roof on a building in the new park so long as the city contributes a matching amount.

The solar panels will be installed on a building that will house a farmers’ market.

The park is the furthest along of the Stellar Communities projects but is $600,000 over budget, city director of Metropolitan Development Tony Foster says. He told the utility’s board last week that without a partnership, there would be no building for the market.

“We’re not asking you for a check. We’re asking you to set aside dollars so we can move ahead with the project,” Foster said.

Randy Baker, corporate services director for the utility, said the solar panels will produce 500 kilowatts of electricity each day. He estimated that would bring in about $173,000 during the 20-year life of the project.

The electricity will go to the Indiana Municipal Power Agency but will be used locally.

Misty Hollis, the lone board member to vote against the partnership, said she doesn’t think the utility should be funding the project.

“They are coming to us because they could not find other funding. That disturbs me,” she said.

But the other board members applauded the pairing.

Member Doug Goss said the partnership offers an opportunity for the utility to see how it might work with companies that are considering using solar power.

“I think it’s a positive thing. It’s a project we will have total control over,” he said.

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Information from: Palladium-Item, https://www.pal-item.com


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