Public Can Track Savings with New Solar Power System at Pleasant Ridge Community Center
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Aug. 31, 2017)
Pleasant Ridge, MI – They City of Pleasant Ridge is now harnessing the power of sunshine to offset electric bills for the Community Center.
The new rooftop solar energy system went live Tuesday, and residents can even watch as the savings – both financial and environmental – add up.
The 20 k Wh system has two collections of solar panels, one on the flat roof portion of the community center and another on the pitched roof on the southern portion of the building.
There is a monitoring system in the lobby of the Community Center and an online monitoring center, where residents can see how much power the system is generating at the moment and the cumulative totals for the week, month and year. The online data can be found at the Solar Edge website.
The system is expected to generate about 32,000 kWh of energy a year, enough to offset about 20% of the annual electricity usage at the building. The cost of the system was $52,000 and will take about 12 years to pay for itself. However, the system is under warranty for 25 years and is expected to continue providing power for much longer.
The City of Pleasant Ridge also recent switched to LED lighting at the Community Center, which accounts for another 20% savings on the Center’s electric bill.
City Manager James Breuckman said “We’ve been working on this project for a while now, and we’re very happy to see it come to fruition.”
He added that solar may soon be more accessible for residents as well. “We are also reconsidering our solar energy system regulations for private property. Currently we don’t allow any solar energy systems that are visible from the street. As the cost of solar energy systems continues to decline we are starting to hear more interest from some residents who want to put these on their house. We’ve started a process with our Planning Commission to look at our zoning regulations to decide if we want to relax them to allow more residents to install these systems if they would like to.”
Mayor Kurt Metzger is excited as well. “Pleasant Ridge is committed to reducing our carbon footprint. Our small size allows us to incorporate a variety of energy-saving initiatives – LED lighting throughout, solar panels, etc. Our next step is to review our ordinance related to residential solar installations. We know there is a great deal of interest on the part of many residents, so we will be working with them and SEMRO to explore the latest options available that will also preserve the unique, historical housing that makes PR the attractive community that it is,” he said.