Last Tuesday night (Jan. 10), the Marathon City Council voted to continue exploring the development of a solar project on city-owned ground. At Tuesday’s council meeting, Trusted Energy delivered the results of their findings, which indicated that the City of Marathon could save citizens a minimum of $2 million dollars in electric costs over the next 20 years through the installation of a 1.42MW solar project.
The vote Tuesday does not commit the city to the project, but it does start the exploratory process. Trusted Energy has started the contract portion of the project, which includes the negotiation of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The City will also be planning a meeting next month to gather community feedback.
When asked about how the planning, engineering, equipment, and installation costs are going to be funded Rob Hach, CEO of Trusted Energy, explained, “The cost for the project will not require the city to bond or take on more debt as the project will be owned and operated by Marathon Power Partners, LLC, which will be a collaboration of local investors and banks to finance the project.” Mr. Hach also said that with the current plan the renewable energy generation asset should pay for itself within the next 10 years.
Currently, there are both Federal and State tax credits which are in place to stimulate solar installations. Besides the tax incentives, Mr. Hach explained, “Tax credits are a true benefit but the most exciting news about the solar industry is that demand for solar is driving down the costs associated with equipment.” According to the solar industry, the cost of solar has dropped around sixty percent over the last ten years. A Marathon city official has been quoted, “This is a way to save our citizens money and encourage economic growth in our community while giving us more energy options.”
Marathon is planning on using a former baseball field on the north edge of the city of Marathon in order to produce around 2 Million kilowatt hours per year.
Trusted Energy is a full-service renewable energy company based out of Spencer, Iowa. Trusted Energy provides engineering, design, installation, and maintenance of renewable energy assets for farms, businesses, homes, and municipalities.