WAPAKONETA — The city’s solar farm project is one passers-by won’t miss, and one that utility customers will be thankful for.
Wapakoneta is contracting with Solar Planet for the 3 megawatt solar project, city Safety Services Director William Rains said. The city, which generates its own electricity, is the sole recipient of the power that will be generated there.
Customers will benefit at times such as those dog days of summer, when air conditioners are cranked up.
“It’s going to offer us some nice savings at the time when the city is using its peak power,” Rains said. “We won’t have to go out and buy that every expensive power.”
The system belongs to Solar Planet at the moment. In the future, there could be opportunities to purchase the system, but for now the city is buying only the power.
Crews are installing thousands of panels across several acres at what is called the “City Farm,” Wapakoneta’s compost facility, just north of Redskin Trail on county Road 151, Wapakoneta Cridersville Road.
The city-owned utility generates power just for city residents. Wapakoneta owns, operates and maintains eight electrical substations.
Another solar company had approached Wapakoneta about the same type of arrangement for the city to purchase the power, but the company couldn’t secure funding it needed for the project. When that agreement fell through, Solar Planet contacted Wapakoneta.
“They approached us,” Rains said. “We didn’t go shopping.”
Customers won’t see anything different on their bills. The system will be running by late June.
“Just in time for the heat wave,” Rains said.
Solar Planet is based in Columbus. It provides solar photovoltaic systems for business and commercial properties.