Northridge solar power plans suffer setback
The Northridge School District pulled the plug on its plans for saving electricity costs through solar power, but researching the possibility was worth the effort, Northridge Treasurer Britt Lewis said.
According to a Northridge press release, the solar power project encountered a significant setback with the electric company, The Energy Cooperative. The Energy Cooperative does not produce its own electricity, but rather purchases it from electric producing companies on the open market.
Because the cooperative does not produce its own electricity, the company policy is not to provide a credit for electricity overage that is produced by nonmembers and returned to the power grid. According to the release, because Northridge Local Schools would not own the power generating equipment, the Energy Cooperative will not give any credits for the overage. The district is exploring other options and avenues to continue its effort of being a green school and saving money.
Lewis said the district finance committee had discussed working with the Solar Planet Co. to help the district create solar power on its own and sell some of the power generated back to the power company to help with savings. However, the Energy Cooperative isn't willing to accept it and even if it were, Lewis said the district would have to own the solar arrays, which it would not do under the Solar Planet plan.
Previously, board member Jayma Bammerlin said the money for creating the solar project would be fronted to the district in exchange for renewable energy tax credits.
"We would turn over our energy credits to (Solar Planet)," she said. Bammerlin said the solar panel system would have required about 3 acres of land. The district would not completely detach from the Energy Cooperative power company and the district planned to feed excess power generated to the power company. She said the solar panels could have represented a 60 percent savings in energy costs to the district.
"We'd love to do (solar power)," said Lewis, but it's really not possible at this point. "It's unfortunate, but it really doesn't work with a co-op."
Lewis said the district finance committee spent a long time researching the options with solar power. "It's important that we tried," he said. Lewis said the district already worked out a very good deal for electricity through the Energy Cooperative.
An advantage of carrying out the research, however, is that the Energy Cooperative will send representatives to Northridge and see if there's any way the district can save even more electricity than it is already.
"It was definitely worth all the effort," he said. Lewis added that the finance committee has also looked into other alternative power sources such as geothermal, but currently the district has no money to invest in actually creating these alternatives.