Columbia Changing Focus for Solar One

4 years 6 months 3 weeks ago Thursday, April 24 2014 Apr 24, 2014 Thursday, April 24, 2014 3:36:00 PM CDT April 24, 2014 in 8 Goes Green
By: Doug Hoffmann, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

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
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The State Board of Education is set to pick Missouri's next top K-12 education official. ... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, November 19 2018 Nov 19, 2018 Monday, November 19, 2018 2:53:00 PM CST November 19, 2018 in News
PHELPS COUNTY - A grand jury indicted a St. James attorney with 18 counts involving sexual assaults of four different... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, November 19 2018 Nov 19, 2018 Monday, November 19, 2018 2:07:00 PM CST November 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council will vote Monday night on a proposed agreement between the city and two electric... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, November 19 2018 Nov 19, 2018 Monday, November 19, 2018 1:26:00 PM CST November 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The Kansas City Zoo euthanized a 55-year-old chimpanzee because her health was failing. Blackie, who... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, November 19 2018 Nov 19, 2018 Monday, November 19, 2018 12:24:00 PM CST November 19, 2018 in News
BOONE COUNTY - It was a "loud verbal argument" between Tiffany Fountain and a male that led to a shooting... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, November 19 2018 Nov 19, 2018 Monday, November 19, 2018 11:53:00 AM CST November 19, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Three Democratic senators on Monday filed a lawsuit challenging the appointment of acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, ratcheting... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, November 19 2018 Nov 19, 2018 Monday, November 19, 2018 10:20:00 AM CST November 19, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Freshman wrestler at Drury University was shot in the abdomen in a hunting accident over the... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, November 19 2018 Nov 19, 2018 Monday, November 19, 2018 9:13:00 AM CST November 19, 2018 in News
ROLLA (AP) — Authorities say four people have been killed in a head-on crash in Phelps County. The Missouri... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, November 19 2018 Nov 19, 2018 Monday, November 19, 2018 8:12:00 AM CST November 19, 2018 in News
CAMDENTON - Camden County Sheriff's Deputies said a suspect is in custody in connection with a possible homicide early Monday... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, November 19 2018 Nov 19, 2018 Monday, November 19, 2018 7:32:00 AM CST November 19, 2018 in News
INDEPENDENCE (AP) — Authorities say a Missouri man who was free on bond while awaiting trial in a deadly September... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, November 19 2018 Nov 19, 2018 Monday, November 19, 2018 7:05:00 AM CST November 19, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- While hundreds of families wait in agony to learn the fate of missing loved ones, officials gave a... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 10:18:00 PM CST November 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A St. Louis woman is headed to California and collecting donations along the way to help the victims... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 9:33:00 PM CST November 18, 2018 in News
OZARK (AP) — Springfield's yoga community is speaking out after a pastor at an Assemblies of God megachurch warned Christians... More >>
19 hours ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 9:15:00 PM CST November 18, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (all times local): 10:55 a.m. ... More >>
23 hours ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 4:59:00 PM CST November 18, 2018 in News
OMAHA (AP) — The Federal Reserve says farm income continued to decline across the Plains and western states this fall... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 3:32:00 PM CST November 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - City Manager Mike Matthes said he will speak at the council meeting Monday, following the announcement of changes... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 11:37:00 AM CST November 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Turkey Day came early for people in Columbia on Saturday. The Shiloh Christian Worship Center hosted its... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 11:18:00 AM CST November 18, 2018 in News
SAVANNAH (AP) — A cat owner in northwestern Missouri is crafting makeshift shelters to help keep stray cats warm during... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 11:05:00 AM CST November 18, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 44°
5pm 43°
6pm 41°
7pm 38°
8pm 36°