Kansas City is about to become one of the leading cities for solar as it prepares to put small systems on 80 municipal buildings.
Local installer Brightergy is working with the utility Kansas City Power & Light to get the projects up and running by the end of this year.
Solar will be on the rooftops of community centers, police, fire and aviation departments, providing about 2.5% of each buildings demand (why not more?!). Buildings like City Hall (which has solar hot water) won’t have solar PV because the roof is too small.
100 kilowatt system on the roof of the Paseo Academy of Performing Arts:
Although other cities have more solar capacity, they tend to build centralized plants rather than making use of rooftops.
The Midwest has been slow to adopt solar because of its low electricity rates, but with solar systems so much cheaper now the economics are shifting.
Even after the $2 per watt state rebate and the expiration of federal incentives in 2016, solar will make sense, Adam Blake, CEO of Brightergy, told the Kansas City Star. "The idea is we won’t need the credits," he says.
Brightergy will lease the solar systems to the government, which will pay a fixed price for the electricity they produce for 20 years.
Kansas is #3 in the nation for wind power, which produces 10% of the state’s electricity, but low-wind conditions in Kansas City make solar more appropriate there.
"The beautiful thing about solar is it’s generated right where it’s needed," Chuck Caisley, a utility spokesman told Kansas City Star.