Kingston OKs solar array on city land

Friday, December 14th, 2012

By Bob Fowler

Friday, December 14, 2012

KINGSTON — A solar array will be erected on city-owned land next to an abandoned water plant, and the city will reap a share of the power generation proceeds.

Kingston City Council this week approved a contract with Energy Source Partners of Nashville for the 50-kilowatt project.

"I think solar energy is a great thing for the city of Kingston to get involved in," Mayor Troy Beets said. "It shows we want to protect our environment."

The small solar farm will be on 1.8 acres off James Ferry Road and should be in operation by mid-2013, City Manager Jim Pinkerton said.

"I think we´re out in front on this," he said of the city pact.

Council members earlier toured a similar but larger solar array in the Middle Tennessee city of Franklin.

Energy Source Partners will install the solar panels, maintain them and sell the electrical power produced by the panels to TVA at a small premium.

The city will reap 10 percent of the premium proceeds until the project is amortized, when its share will increase to 40 percent, Beets said.

Pinkerton said the city will later have the option of either buying the array or extending its contract with Energy Source Partners.

He said the new solar project should be on line by mid-2013.

TVA spokesman Mike Bradley said a 50kw solar array has the capability of producing enough electricity to fully power three or four average homes.

He said the plan is "in the pipeline," and TVA is in talks with local power provider Rockwood Electric Utility about the program.