Superior buys into solar power with AEP contract

SUPERIOR — A solar array to be built here is expected to provide about 8 percent of the city of Superior’s electricity needs in the future.

Meeting Nov. 13, the Superior City Council voted unanimously to sign a contract to authorize the construction of the solar array east of the current waste water treatment plant, on land south of the sewer plant access road and east of the actual sewer plant.

The company known as AEP Onsite Partners is expected to begin construction of a 1-megawatt solar array in February 2018, with the new facility operational by May 1, 2018.

The unit is expected to produce about 2 million kilowatts of electrical energy each year. This is about 8 percent of the city’s annual power purchase, and the town has agreed to purchase all of the power produced by the array. It will be a one-direction array that will tilt to follow the daily movement of the sun from east to west.

According to city officials, in addition to saving on the cost of power since it will be generated here, the city will save on transportation and other expenses, including not needing to purchase power during peak usage.

AEP Onsite Partners LLP, which has headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, was incorporated in 2015. The firm is a subsidiary of American Electric Power Co.

Online resources describe AEP OnSite Partners as a “behind-the-meter” company, partnering with such clients as municipalities and universities to develop solutions to their power needs.

Since AEP is a private company, it may qualify for a 35-percent tax credit payable over seven years. The city of Superior’s 25-year contract stipulates the city utility may buy the facility when it no longer qualifies for the tax credits.

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