Wellington’s solar fields delayed by contract negotiations, months away from start-up

By Catherine Gabe - cgabe@civitasmedia.com

A solar field that was supposed to start generating power this spring in Wellington is stalled due to contract negotiations.

“It would be late this year when we would turn it on to generate electricity and that’s an ambitious goal given the size of this project,” said Steve Pyles, village manager.

The solar project, which has been in the works for years, was supposed to go live in the first quarter of this year.

The village is working on specifics regarding wetlands, environmental concerns, and other details of the lease agreement.

Pyles would not disclose the name of the investor who will install the system. “We’re negotiating the final part of the lease agreement and purchase power agreement,” he said. “All in all, I think both parties want to see it happen, it’s just a matter of if we can craft the language.”

Advanced Distributed Generation of Toledo will present conceptual and final plans to the village planning commission at month’s end. ADG is the build and design engineer for the field of solar panels that will be located on the southern end of town off Jones Road near the Wellington Reservation.

The investor bears the cost of installing the system. They lease the land from the village and will make money back on the renewable energy credits.

Energy generated will be sold back to the village in a power purchase agreement at 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

“The price is very competitive with what we’re paying for power and the advantage is we don’t have to pay the transmission costs,” Pyles said. “It’s delivered right to our grid so we can use it.”

At the January planning commission meeting, some expressed concern about the value of a solar system when this area typically has only about 80 sunny days.

Pyles said the system works even on cloudy days, although not at the same capacity as on sunny days.

When factories are running on a hot day, the entire village consumes about 15 megawatts of power, Pyles said. The solar field could generate about three megawatts of power when fully producing, or about 20 percent of power needed at peak times.

“It’s a positive thing in that it fills that really high cost area if we were short and we had to buy it in the market,” he said.

“Anytime we can get our capacity and our ability to generate power behind the grid and we don’t have to pay for transmission costs on it, that’s a good thing,” he said.

Catherine Gabe can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @ReporterGabe on Twitter.

By Catherine Gabe