Kingston officials flip solar farm switch

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Kingston Mayor Troy Beets discusses the city’s venture into solar power during a dedication ceremony for the new solar farm now in operation behind the city’s water treatment plant off Highway 58 South.
KINGSKiNGSTON — City officials joined with TVA representatives and others this week to symbolically throw the switch on a new solar farm behind the city’s water treatment plant on Highway 58 South.

That 200-panel farm “is another step into the future for the city of Kingston,” Mayor Troy Beets said Tuesday.

Combined with an 800-panel facility on nearby James Ferry Road targeted for an early 2014 startup, the solar farms will produce enough power to run both the water plant and a next-door city recreational complex.

The solar power will flow into TVA’s grid. TVA will then reimburse the city and Energy Source Partners LLC of Nashville, which will split the revenue.

With some of the 200 panels in Kingston´s first solar farm in foreground, Kingston Mayor Troy Beets talks with Teresa Jackson with the Roane Alliance before Tuesday´s dedication ceremony.(BOB FOWLER/NEWS SENTINEL)

“Every day it makes your appreciate sunshine a little bit more,” said Energy Source Partners President and CEO Ron Merville Jr.

He called it a “great example of a public-private partnership,” describing it as “the best possible model for cities and counties across the state.”

Energy Source Partners installs and operates the solar farms and will get most of the early power revenue. Under the contract, the city has the option of buying and running the solar farms after the first few years of operation.

Merville said the initial solar farm represents a $125,000 investment, while the planned larger facility is an estimated $500,000 project.

“This is another good example of partnerships we have with local communities to promote renewable energy throughout the (Tennessee) valley,” said TVA’s Bob Morris, vice president of valley relations.