HUDSON -- Hudson already has solar panels on city-owned property at Barlow Community Center, thanks to Leadership Hudson class of 2014, but could have a much larger solar presence in the future.
The city's electrical power consultant shared a possible new solar project with Council on June 13, that the city could take part in to help with high peak energy days.
John Courtney of Courtney & Associates, the city of Hudson's electric system consultant for Hudson Public Power, said a developer could build and operate a Behind-The-Meter solar project for a municipality.
"The developers take on the risk for development and construction," Courtney said.
The city only pays for what electrical power is produced and delivered to the city's power grid, Courtney said.
"This is a great opportunity for our town," said Council member Casey Weinstein. "We will deliver power savings to HPP customers, while utilizing YDC property that is not suited for other development and contributing to keeping our air cleaner for our families. Hudson is emerging as a leader in renewable energy, creating a win-win for everyone."
The city would select a private developer to install, own and operate a solar project on a site, preferably owned by the city, Courtney said.
One site discussed was on approximately 15 acres of the former Youth Development Center property on Hines Hill Road adjacent to the Ohio Turnpike and the former Hudson water treatment plant.
City manager Jane Howington said the YDC property was just an example and the solar panels could be placed anywhere.
Council member Alex Kelemen said he was concerned with the YDC site because of future development needing the space.
Superintendent of Utilities Kevin Powell said he would provide a list of possible city-owned sites and a few private-owned sites for the solar panels.
"Do companies want to locate near solar?" Weinstein asked.
Courtney said a large yogurt company specifically asked to build near a renewable energy source in Minster, Ohio.
In the fall of 2016 Council considered a contract with American Municipal Power to participate in a solar project but the city would have owned and operated the facility.
"This is a different proposal," said Frank Comeriato, assistant city manager for operations.
Hudson Public Power, which provides electricity to the city of Hudson, has a portfolio of sources for power, such as coal, natural gas, wind, solar, hydro and methane gas.
Electric power is supplied to the city of Hudson by AMP and the transmission of the electric power is provided by Regional Transmission Organizations on high voltage lines to the city at either the eastside substation or the south main substation.
Comeriato said the city needs 42-46 Megawatts of power for approximately 7,500 residential customers and 800 commercial customers and 13-15 MW of power for peak periods, which occur on hot days when air conditioners are running.
The city would purchase 100 percent of the output from the Solar Project in a 20-25 year agreement at a fixed rate per kilowatt-hour.
The city of Hudson would receive 100 percent of the capacity and transmission benefits and 100 percent of the Solar Renewable Energy Credits provided by the solar project, Courtney said. The city could have quotes for the project with or without the SRECs, which can be sold on the power market.
The solar project provides a long-term hedge against future increases in energy, he said,
Fixed axis vs tracker
The city could choose a fixed axis or stationary arrangement of solar panels or a tracker or moveable arrangement of solar panels.
The tracker systems generate approximately 15 percent more output than fixed axis arrays; they provide peak output over a longer period than fixed axis arrays; they provide greater reduction in capacity and transmission obligations; and they provide more SRECs, Courtney said.
Solar panels don't require a lot of maintenance but the site must be fenced, Courtney said. The developer/owner would monitor the site.
The energy price under the solar PPA is 5 cents per kWh and the savings in energy, capacity cost and transmission demand and sale of SRECs totals a credit of 7 cents per kWh with the net cost of energy a negative 2 cents per kWh, so the city would make money, Courtney said.
"Everyone benefits," Comeriato said.
The next step would be to solicit proposals from potential developers (solar RFP), review responses, interview a narrowed lists and select a preferred developer.