Yellow Springs adds 6-acre solar array to grid

The village of Yellow Springs today unveiled its newest source of energy -- 3,024 solar panels tied into the grid on about 6 and a half acres of village owned land.

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The solar array, which turns on an axis to optimize access to sunrays, brings the village's total energy supply to 93 percent renewable energy sources, according to Village Manager Patti Bates.

"Electric Superintendent Johnnie Burns and I, with the help of our Energy Board, started talking about the idea of the array in late 2014 to add more green energy to our portfolio and reduce the amount of energy we buy off the market," Bates said. "We have been working on it together for three years to get it done. It involved requesting proposals from various vendors, reviewing them and presenting the best options to Council for a final decision."

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The option that Council chose is to hire Dovetail Solar and Wind to install the array and enter into a 25-year lease agreement with AEP Onsite Partners, LLC. Bates said the village has the option to buy the asset in six years.

The site sits amid about 32 acres of village-owned land at the end of Ridgecrest Drive. Village Councilwoman Judith Hempfling told the crowd that gathered for the ribbon cutting that it's a proud moment for the village as "we have added our own green energy to the grid."

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"The village has been on a long road moving toward 93 percent renewable energy portfolio," Hempfling said, adding that it started about 12 years ago when council members rejected an offer from AMP-Ohio to buy into two coal plants.

"We had the foresight, with the support of our citizenry, to say 'no' to those two plants," she said. "We've been a leading community in moving toward 100 percent renewable energy use."

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