Dakota County invests in solar energy

  • Article by: Laurie Blake
  • Updated: October 19, 2013 - 2:11 PM

First solar energy installation will be on roof of its Empire Township maintenance garage.

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  • 1 - 6 of 6
esandeenOct. 19, 13 5:45 PM

When writing articles like this, could you please include details like the size (in kW) of the array, to get some sense of the capacity in proportion to the cost...? At $1.3 million I'd hope it's well over 200kW - which is pretty huge.

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esandeenOct. 19, 13 5:50 PM

Actually, I found it in meeting minutes. Four 39 kW arrays for $1.3 million; that's $8.33 watt. Seems quite high for solar in 2013. I applaud them for taking this step, but it seems like the cost is pretty far on the high side, even if it's offset by rebates. Somebody pays for those too...

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rexmanOct. 20, 13 7:42 AM

"...the county will spend $130,000 for a $1.3 million installation of solar panels at the Empire Transportation Facility."

Dakota County residents, rejoice! If the county can afford to waste money on nonsensical projects like this, a tax reduction must surely be in our future.

esandeen estimates the cost to be about $8.33 per watt. Amortized against current rates, this means that this project will start to "pay for itself" in -- 100 years? 200 years?

Perhaps one of the math whizzes out there can do the above calculation, which was (somewhat curiously) missing from the article.

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cmvolkmannOct. 21, 13 4:27 PM

Elections have consequences! Commissioner Workman as a city council member voted for the Burnsville Performing Arts center that was supposed to have an annual operating loss of #350,000. Last year it lost $863,909. Workman thought it OK to let Mayor Kautz redefine the term "operating loss" by leaving the annual $500,000 depreciation charge out of the projected operating costs. And now, guess what! Burnsville residents elected Workman to the county board!

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cmvolkmannOct. 21, 13 4:37 PM

Elections have consequences! Commissioner Workman as a city council member voted for the Burnsville Performing Arts center that was supposed to have an annual operating loss of #350,000. Last year it lost $863,909. Workman thought it OK to let Mayor Kautz redefine the term "operating loss" by leaving the annual $500,000 depreciation charge out of the projected operating costs. And now, guess what! Burnsville residents elected Workman to the county board!

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inmplsOct. 23, 1312:07 PM

Let's try this math again, folks. 4 panels at 39 kW each produce 156 kWh. With an average of 5 hours of sunlight over the year, this system would produce 284,700 kW over the year. So while, in the first year each kW produced would cost 45.7 cents (remember "the county will spend $130,000 for a $1.3 million installation of solar panels"...the company in contract will be obtaining rebates), and this is much greater than the average cost MN as of 2011 being 10.9 cents/kWh, they are thinking about long-term savings. My guess is the naysayers on this project are also the ones who haven't figured out that saving for retirement is probably a good idea.

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