Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley says he wants to install Ohio’s largest municipally-sponsored solar panel project within two years, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. If the project succeeds, it could generate 20% of the electricity required for city operations, according to the mayor’s office.
The mayor’s solar plan calls for panels covering 125 to 150 acres of city-owned land, including facility rooftops, Lunken Airport, and Center Hill Landfill, the paper reported. “The solar array would produce 25 megawatts of power, enough energy to power 80% of Greater Cincinnati Water Works’ largest plant or all of the city’s non-utility facilities each year,” the Enquirer’s Carrie Blackmore Smith writes.
Currently Cincinnati pays 9.5 cents per kilowatt hour, but could lower that to between 5 and 7 cents per kilowatt hour with onsite solar generation. Cranley’s project falls under the Green Cincinnati Plan adopted in 2008 and revised in 2013 to advance sustainability. The city estimates that the project could cost approximately $45 million, not counting government incentives.
Cranley, who is up for re-election this fall, compared the solar project to the 42,614 panels that have been installed at Denver International Airport since 2008. The mayor’s proposal would be double that size, the Enquirer reported. “They did it in Denver, we can do it here,” Cranley told a crowd gathered last night at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Next, city officials may need to figure out a private partnership to help get the project off the ground since federal tax credits are set to expire in 2019, Blackmore Smith reported. They must also go through an approval process before installing solar panels at the airport.