Columbia Changing Focus for Solar One

2 years 2 months 6 days 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
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Like most sporting venues, Busch Stadium prohibits guns. Soon, gun-carrying Cardinals fans will have the option... More >>
6 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:37:03 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A security guard at a St. Louis hotel is facing charges after allegedly breaking into a... More >>
6 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:34:21 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Two people are dead and a third critically injured following a shooting in south St. Louis.... More >>
6 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:31:39 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City man has been indicted in a nearly $3.3 million investment fraud scheme. ... More >>
6 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:29:41 AM CDT in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a warning that's sure to disappoint many who enjoy sneaking a taste of cookie dough, the... More >>
6 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:26:39 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A suburban Kansas City man has been charged with embezzling more than $86,000 from two churches.... More >>
6 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:20:49 AM CDT in News
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Officials say a West Point cadet from Missouri is on life support after he tried to... More >>
6 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:17:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Ferguson woman has been charged in the attack of a security guard at a train... More >>
6 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:10:11 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A group of cancer survivors and their caregivers will gather at the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center to celebrate... More >>
6 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:02:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A small plane made an emergency landing Wednesday at Columbia Regional Airport. The single engine Piper aircraft... More >>
14 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 8:52:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri is now offering students recovering from alcohol or substance abuse a sober housing option.... More >>
15 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 7:12:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole for participating in... More >>
16 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 6:45:39 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Three suicide bombers attacked the international terminal at an airport in Istanbul, Turkey late Tuesday. KOMU 8 News... More >>
16 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 6:43:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon is backing a proposed power line in Missouri that's part of a multi... More >>
17 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 5:06:32 PM CDT in News
PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in sou theast Missour i have been searching for a Kansas man who hasn't been... More >>
18 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 4:42:47 PM CDT in News
BRANSON (AP) — A 77-year-old man who said he robbed a Branson bank to get access to health care has... More >>
18 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 4:21:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A former system president and a wealthy university donor will help review the University of Missouri... More >>
19 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 3:39:24 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - More pets go missing over the 4th of July holiday weekend than any other time of year, according... More >>
20 hours ago June 29, 2016 Jun 29, 2016 Wednesday, June 29 2016 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 2:26:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 70°
11am 78°
12pm 81°
1pm 82°
2pm 85°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
10:30a
Crazy Talk
11:00a
Cheaters
11:30a
Cheaters

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2016 U.S. Summer Olympic Trials
8:00p
Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge
9:00p
Aquarius
7:00p
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
8:00p
Beauty and the Beast
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld