Friday, October 24, 2014

COF solar project charged by city support

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 3/10/2014

Ottawa city commissioners lent their support to a solar energy project at COF Training Services Inc.

COF, 726 W. 13th St., Ottawa, has submitted a grant application to Westar Energy Inc., Topeka, to have Westar install a solar panel at COF’s facilities in Ottawa and Chanute, Richard Nienstedt, city manager, told commissioners last week during their meeting at City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St.

“I’m excited because I’ve been wanting to do a solar panel project in the community,” Nienstedt said.

The city is getting involved because it would require net metering, Nienstedt said. Net metering is a system in which solar panels or other renewable energy generators are connected to a public-utility power grid and surplus power is transferred onto the grid, allowing customers to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility, according to one industry definition. The City of Ottawa operates the community’s electric utility.

“This project provides an opportunity to learn more about solar energy, and it gives us an opportunity to work with net metering, because we have no experience with net metering to date,” Nienstedt said.

The commission voted 4-0 to allow Sara Caylor, Ottawa mayor, to sign a letter to Westar supporting the project.

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