Public-Private Photovoltaic Partnership

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Background

Solar FarmBeginning in 2007, the North Carolina General Assembly implemented the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), which mandates that electric utilities meet 12.5 percent of their electric needs through renewable sources. This act has furthered the development of private infrastructure for the purposes of generating renewable energy for sale to the Utilities.

Following this legislative action, the Town of Cary investigated the possibility of installing renewable energy generation equipment, specifically a photovoltaic system, at various locations on Town properties. Initial sites were selected based on available space, suitability for the efficient collection of solar energy with no impact on Town operations, and future expansion plans.

The Town has selected FLS Energy as its solar energy partner. FLS Energy has considerable local experience developing solar projects in North Carolina, including installations at SAS and is currently in development of rooftop projects in the Triangle area. In partnership with FLS Energy, solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment will be installed on select Town of Cary sites for the collection of solar energy, a renewable source of energy.

Phase I Completed

The first phase of this project at the South Cary Water Reclamation Facility was placed in service in December 2012 and has the capacity to generate 1.89 megawatts of electricity. This Phase I system consists of 5,918 solar panels that generate enough energy to power 174 homes (based on expected actual performance) and offset 1,772 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. The Town has leased approximately 8 acres to FLS Energy for up to 20 years for this development of solar PV generation. The Town will receive an annual payment of up to $35,000 from this Phase I project while incurring no upfront costs or maintenance costs during the life of the lease. Power generated is returned to the distribution grid as a renewable source of energy.

Schedule

The Town anticipates multi-phased installations, with subsequent phases implemented as power utility market conditions allow.

Installation

All installations will comply with the Town's Land Development Ordinance (LDO) requirements. The Town, along with FLS Energy, will evaluate the possibility of further installations to be located at:

Project Benefits

  • All electrical power produced by the solar panels will be returned to the power distribution grid as required by state law;
  • The Town will incur no upfront cost during life of the lease(s);
  • The Town will have no maintenance cost during the lease period;
  • The Town will generate lease revenue of $35,000 a year for phase one of this project;
  • After the sixth, tenth and fifteenth year of operation and at the end of the lease period, the Town will have the option to purchase the PV equipment at a depreciated amount; all benefits, power agreements and warranties will be transferred to the Town.

Photovoltaic Equipment

Installed equipment will not generate any noise or other disturbances. All electricity generated will be returned to the electric utility by FLS Energy. During the lease period, all electricity and environmental benefits will be owned by FLS Energy.

Related Links

Contact

Emily Barrett, QEP, PEM
Sustainability Manager
(919) 469-5125
emily.barrett@townofcary.org

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