Delaware City opens solar farm to help with energy costs

In an area of New Castle County known for its production of fossil fuel is a new sign of change, a 2.5 acre field planted with solar panels will harvest huge savings for Delaware City.

Local and state officials today cut the ribbon on the 500-kilowatt solar power farm that promises to save the city approximately $1 million on its utility bills over the course of the 20-year contract with SolarCity.

The solar energy company installed the 1,900 solar panels at no cost to the city by using the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit. Under the deal, the city will purchase energy from SolarCity at a discounted rate of five cents per kilowatt hour, which is approximately 50 percent less than current electric costs.

Using the solar energy will also reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 500 tons of carbon dioxide, the equitant of removing 100 cars from the road.

“The thing that’s so exciting about this project is that it’s about 96 percent of the [city’s] current use,” said Collin O’Mara, secretary of DNREC. “With a little more efficiency work, it could be 100 percent of the power used in city government operations, being powered by renewable energy. There is no one else in this state, in local government, that’s close to that threshold. This is a huge accomplishment for a city of this size.”

The land for the project was donated by PBF Energy, owners of the Delaware City Refinery.

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