The City of Ashland has been promoting the use of solar energy since 1981, when it passed one of the first citywide access protection ordinances in the United States.
In 1996, a net metering law was passed which established a simple grid interconnect policy that allowed net metering and committed the City to purchase at full retail price up to 1,000 kWhs of excess electricity per month from small wind or solar generation resources.
With funding from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), we are about to embark upon a new program to promote the use of locally produced solar power. The Solar Ashland Pilot Program involves a unique partnership between BEF, the City and some local public institutions who, together, will be installing 20-25 kW of grid connected PV systems.
The program involves the City and BEF matching dollars provided by local institutions to install 5 kW systems on each institution. These systems will feed directly into the grid and the City will market the solar electricity to Ashland businesses and citizens on a voluntary basis on behalf of the institution. Solar power can be purchased in $4 monthly increments and this money will, in turn, be repaid to the institution to help recoup their initial investment. Also, each system will have a strong educational component so visitors to each site will see and learn about the technology. It is hoped that the institutions should be able to achieve a simple payback period of 12-14 years under this method.
If Phase I of the program is successful and we are able to subscribe additional voluntary sales, we hope to open up the program to residential and commercial customers. We look forward to providing rebates and/or financing to Phase II participants.
For more information, contact Dick Wanderscheid at (541) 552-2061.