Columbia Changing Focus for Solar One

2 years 5 months 1 day ago April 24, 2014 Apr 24, 2014 Thursday, April 24 2014 Thursday, April 24, 2014 3:36:00 PM CDT in 8 Goes Green
By: Doug Hoffmann, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Columbia's Solar One program hasn't gained much steam in the past few years, but the city hopes new changes to the program will attract more people. 

Solar One kicked off in Columbia in 2008. The program's main focus is to move away from dirty energies, like coal, and eventually have one percent of the city's power use come from solar energy.

The city generates energy from solar panels installed at Quaker Oats, Bright City Lights and the West Ash Pumping Station. Columbia customers can then pay an extra $3.35 a month to get their energy from the stored solar energy.

Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe was one of the first businesses in Columbia to sign up for the program.

"I feel really lucky to live in a community that values the things they do," owner Leigh Lockhart Lockhart said.  "The city says let's make a longterm plan for what we are going to do about energy."

Although many people were excited about the program when it began, the program's numbers have declined over the years.

According to the Renewable Energy Reports released by the city in 2011, Solar One raised $8,602.10. According to the 2014 report,the program raised $8,891 in 2013. The difference between the two years is just $288.90. The small change means fewer people are signing up for the program.

Jay Hasheider, Columbia Energy Services Superintendent, said the reason more people haven't joined the program may be because the city doesn't market the program. He said that's because the program's focus has shifted since the it was first introduced.

The program was built on the premise that solar energy would always be an expensive alternative. However, shortly after the program launched, the price of solar energy decreased.

Solar One was meant to start on a small scale and grow, but the decrease in price of solar energy changed that.

Hasheider said the focus changed from getting a small group of residents to use the service to making solar energy available to everyone.

"What we are hoping to do is make a program that is available to virtually all customers, so they have an interest in solar that is equivalent to an interest say if they put a panel on their roof," Hasheider said.

If the Columbia City Council approves the changes, Columbia Power and Light plans to heavily market the new Solar One. 

Columbia resident J. Scott Christianson does not participate in the Solar One program, but he installed 24 panels onto the roof of his house in October of 2013. 

He said he installed them not only because solar energy is cleaner than coal, but also because they were a good financial investment.

"If you look at the long term these panels are guaranteed for 25 years, if you look at that return over investment for 25 years it was a heck of a lot better then we could get in any CD or bank account today," Christianson said.

Since the installation, he said his utility bills have been almost nothing. When Christianson has an excess of energy, it goes into the city's grid, but if there isn't enough from his panels, the city feeds his system.

In eight to nine years, the panels will have paid for itself.

The city hopes in the future Solar One will be able to reduce customer's energy bills while staying environmentally conscious.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA – More than 150 people registered to participate in a walk at Stankowski Field Sunday morning to raise awareness... More >>
1 hour ago September 25, 2016 Sep 25, 2016 Sunday, September 25 2016 Sunday, September 25, 2016 4:34:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA- On Saturday, Meals with Mom brought together mothers and their children to make homemade pizza rolls and desert. ... More >>
10 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 7:08:00 PM CDT in News
WARSAW (AP) — A 51-year-old Springfield man already in prison on drug charges has been sentenced to life in prison... More >>
11 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 5:58:00 PM CDT in News
JOPLIN (AP) — A former Joplin police officer has pleaded guilty to a federal charge for offering to help a... More >>
12 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 5:32:00 PM CDT in News
FULTON - Fulton Police arrested two siblings Saturday morning at a residence on the 900 block of Lyle Street. ... More >>
12 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 5:20:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A 41-year-old man was accused of beating his significant other with a hammer Friday, according to the Boone... More >>
13 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 4:03:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Old Munichburg Association brought the community out to celebrate German culture during Saturday's Oktoberfest. The... More >>
13 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 3:52:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - MU Children's Hospital held a tailgate for the MU vs. Delaware State football game Saturday. With help... More >>
14 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 3:15:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 25-year-old man was struck and killed after he got out of a vehicle stopped... More >>
14 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 2:50:51 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri Tigers' quarterback Drew Lock threw for 402 yards and five touchdowns, including four to wide receiver J’Mon... More >>
15 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 2:22:00 PM CDT in Sports
HAZELWOOD (AP) — St. Louis area police said injuries have been reported after a car hit people waiting for a... More >>
15 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 1:51:48 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - This morning officers confirmed a report of shots fired in the area of Arlene Drive and Gillespie Bridge... More >>
16 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 12:54:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — One person was killed when a vehicle plunged into a Kansas City area lake. ... More >>
17 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 12:15:43 PM CDT in News
ROGERSVILLE (AP) — A 13-year-old Missouri boy who's mowing lawns for free for single mothers, senior citizens and the disabled... More >>
18 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 11:30:43 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tried unsuccessfully to buy a Kansas City casino in 1999, but... More >>
18 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 10:50:02 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – Puppies with Purpose, a CHAMP Assistance Dogs, Inc. program gives puppies the opportunity to train to become assistance... More >>
21 hours ago September 24, 2016 Sep 24, 2016 Saturday, September 24 2016 Saturday, September 24, 2016 8:35:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - A 23-year-old man is accused of breaking into the MU Alpha Chi Omega sorority house Thursday. John... More >>
1 day ago September 23, 2016 Sep 23, 2016 Friday, September 23 2016 Friday, September 23, 2016 10:40:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A car and motorcycle collided at the intersection of Brown School Road and Highway 763 Friday evening. ... More >>
1 day ago September 23, 2016 Sep 23, 2016 Friday, September 23 2016 Friday, September 23, 2016 9:53:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 71°
6am 72°
7am 71°
8am 72°
9am 75°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:30a
Open House
6:00a
Hometime
6:30a
Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford
5:30a
Paid Program
6:00a
Paid Program
6:30a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

6:00p
Football Night in America
7:20p
Sunday Night Football
6:00p
Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
8:00p
Paid Program
8:30p
Cops Reloaded
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld