Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Qualls motion would establish new financing for solar

Cincinnati Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls has introduced a motion calling for the establishment of new financing mechanisms for solar energy, including the creation of a solar rooftop program that would enable the bundling of residential and commercial properties to facilitate power purchase or lease agreements for solar energy installations.

The motion also directs the City to work with Green Umbrella, the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, and the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance to develop the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing tool, which will help the City reach the Green Cincinnati Plan's goal of having solar energy equipment installed on 20 percent of residential and commercial rooftops by 2028.

Qualls outlined her plan to more than 100 attendees at a "Cincinnati Going Solar" town meeting hosted by Environment Ohio, Green Umbrella, and Xavier University's Sustainability Committee, held Mar. 26 at Xavier University.

PACE would save consumers money on utility bills, be revenue-neutral for the City, conserve fossil fuels and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and improve air quality, Qualls said.

"These are steps we can take now to help to not only save money on our energy bills today, but to build a globally-competitive local green economy and a lasting green legacy for our children," Qualls said in a prepared release.

At the meeting, Matt Koblinsky of SECO Electric, which currently employs 35 electricians and already performs energy efficiency and solar upgrades locally, highlighted the job creation that solar power can bring to the City.

"If Cincinnati adopted a goal to get 10 percent of its energy from solar by 2030 and just my small business met that demand, I'd have to hire 450 electricians tomorrow and keep them hired for the next 17 years," Kolbinsky said.

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have adopted PACE-enabling legislation, including Ohio in 2009.

The City's electric aggregation program is backed by 100 percent renewable energy credits, making it one of the largest green energy purchasers in the nation. It's estimated that the program saves customers 23 percent off of their monthly bills, or approximately $133 per year for the typical household.

The motion directs the City to prepare an ordinance for adoption within 60 days.

"Cincinnati is already leading by example in making green energy choices accessible to our residents and businesses," Qualls said. "We've learned that not only are we able to put money back in people's pockets, it is also the right thing and the smart thing to do for the environment and to build a sustainable Cincinnati."

Previous reading on BC:
CPA annual meeting, awards to highlight Zoo's stewardship initiatives (11/15/12)
Park Board completes solar installations (3/16/11)
United Way completes $16M renovation, conference center (3/3/11)
Parks solar project wins state award (2/14/11)
Potterhill unveils affordable net-zero energy model at Northwind (6/15/10)