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Solar financing expected soon

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If the Village finalizes a contract with SolarVision, LLC to develop a solar farm, millions of dollars in outside financing will be used to construct and maintain the project, said Mike Dickman, vice president of SolarVision, at Council’s April 19 meeting.

Dickman added that its takes about 90 to 120 days to secure financing and that the Village’s project would be part of a 11–13 megawatt package along with other pending SolarVision projects in Ohio.

“The likelihood is it will happen,” Dickman said of the financing. He said he expects final approval for other SolarVision projects in the next 30 days.

Council also decided at the meeting to site the proposed solar installation on the Village-owned Glass Farm on King Street and to increase its size to 2.5 megawatts in passing its first reading of the proposed ordinance. Council also declared an emergency so the legislation would take effect immediately after the second reading instead of the usual 30-day delay. That way the process of securing financing can begin as soon as possible.

The solar farm will cost between $10 and $13 million, according to Paul Wren of Yellow Springs Renewable Energy, which is hoping to receive a contract from SolarVision to install and maintain the solar array.

Regarding when the Yellow Springs project will be funded, Jeremy Chapman of MeLink said in an interview last week: “There are a number of these [solar] projects in the queue, so it’s not a matter of if, but when.” MeLink would design and procure the panels if the project moves forward.

Earlier this week, Village Solicitor John Chambers sent his comments on the proposed contract to SolarVision while contractor MK Power Solutions has not yet completed its electric load-flow study and review of the Village electric substation.

In other Council business:

• Council passed the first reading of a proposed ordinance to renew a 10-year contract with American Municipal Power, or AMP, to purchase 70 kilowatts of power from its landfill gas plants. Council agreed with Village Manager Mark Cundiff’s recommendation that the Village continue selling the Renewable Energy Credits generated from the power purchase, which last year contributed $66,000 to its general fund.

• Eric Lloyd of AMP asked Council to consider purchasing power from its new natural gas combined-cycle power plant in Fremont, Ohio, which would reduce the Village’s cost for intermediate power. The Fremont Energy Center, which is expected to come online by the end of the year, would operate only when generation costs are lower than the market price its members are paying. In response to a question from Council, Lloyd said sourcing the natural gas from hydrologically-fracked reservoirs couldn’t be avoided.

• Council passed 5–0 a resolution to authorize Cundiff to solicit bids for sidewalk repair. Council previously budgeted $30,000 from the Sidewalk Fund of the Village’s special revenue funds for the project. Cundiff said the Village will spend an initial $15,000 to repair sidewalks and install handicapped ramps on the east side of Xenia Avenue and around the library.

• In an annual review completed by the City of Oakwood, water and sewer rates in Yellow Springs averaged $244.34 for a three-month period for 22,500 gallons of water based upon rates effective on March 1, 2011. The Village was ranked 12th highest out of 63 municipalities in the Miami Valley in its combined water and sewer rates per household, while its sewer rate alone was 10th highest of out 63 and its water rate was 22nd highest out of 66.

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