Solar offsets Ducktown energy use
The city’s efforts for the 28 kilowatt Solar Farm were recognized earlier this year with a Clean Air Excellence Award from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Thanks to solar energy, the City of Ducktown is off-setting 65% of its city’s energy usage. The city’s efforts for the 28 kilowatt Solar Farm were recognized earlier this year with a Clean Air Excellence Award from the Environmental Protection Agency.
“This 28 kilowatt solar system was our first built and is our crown jewel,” said Ducktown Mayor James Talley, adding, “Our goal for the near future is to be 100 percent energy independent.”
In an attempt to improve on decades of efforts to reclaim the countryside damaged by years of mining operations, City leaders chose to pursue renewable energy projects which would aid the environment and also improve economic development of the community. City leaders attended multiple classes and conferences, learning about renewable energy sources and alternative fuels.
In 2010, Ducktown constructed its first solar project: a 28-kilowatt (Kw) solar photovoltaic system through federal grants received from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and local funds. With a total project cost of $108,000, the city should have only been able to build a 14-Kw system, but by thinking out of the box, providing training for staff, and completing construction themselves, the city was able to double the size of the system.
Rather than give up on their goal of the 28 kilowatt system, the mayor and municipal leadership consulted with Farmer | Morgan, L.L.C. on how to maintain the scope of the project. The town determined that they could construct the system using municipal and local trades required for the job, saving them a substantial amount of investment. In addition, Ducktown also developed the necessary skill set required for the project by sending municipal employee Jeremy Tipton to a solar training academy. Proper training, combined with local skills and talent, enabled the town to install the solar farm themselves.
In the first year of operation, the 28-Kw system created $9,000 in revenues, offsetting approximately 45 percent of the energy cost. To date, this project has avoided 34 tons of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The city has also partnered with a private business and installed an additional 60 Kw solar capacity, offsetting the total energy cost by 65 percent to date.
“Our City is honored to receive the Clean Air Excellence award and the recognition it brings to our community, our goal has been and will continue being, to further the efforts that have been made by all for the recovery of our environment and economic stability of our area,” Talley said.
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