PLYMOUTH — After 18 months of planning and preparations, the village of Plymouth is officially on the solar grid.
Village officials held a formal ribbon cutting Friday, two weeks after the grid went online.
“I haven’t seen any cons. There’s a myriad of pros — all the green energy, the savings to the village,” Village Administrator Tom Rusynyk said.
The supplemental power supply is expected to save between $60,000 and $70,000 per year in capacity and transmission costs. Rusynyk said he wasn’t sure when those savings would show up on residents’ utility bills.
“Really, what this is going to benefit us with is operational expenses and keeping costs from increasing down the road,” said Plymouth Mayor Cassaundra Fryman. “It’s more of a preemptive cost-saving measure.”
The village acquired the seven-acre field at no cost. The engineering, supplies and labor cost the village approximately $50,000.
The field consists of approximately 3,400 three-by-five-foot solar panels. The panels are on a tracking system that allows them to automatically follow the sun throughout the day.
The village signed a 30-year power purchase agreement with Eitri Foundry to maintain and operate the panels.
For Rusynyk, seeing the solar field up and running is rewarding. He and Tim Redden, the former mayor of Plymouth, first heard about the benefits solar energy could provide the village during a conference in September 2018.
“We sat down, kind of hashed over the literature and thought maybe this would be worthwhile to look into,” Redden said.
After months of consultations, the village began the process, which included a seven-month study with AEP, then working out the logistics of supplies, contractors and installation.
“I’m glad that we were able to move forward with it. I think in the long run, down the road, it’s going to be a very big plus for the people of Plymouth,” Redden said.
Fryman said she hopes the solar field will be the first of many innovations that revitalize the village in the years to come.
“Seeing how successful a push forward is, I think this is just a really good way to highlight looking into different alternative ways to solve our problems,” Fryman said.