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Consider Solar Power Project

Doing what little they can to ensure their city’s residents benefit from reliable electricity service at the lowest cost possible ought to be St. Clairsville City Council’s goal.

At one time, that might have ruled out municipal support for alternative energy projects. Now, council members are being told a solar power project may produce savings for the city and its people.

Last week, American Electric Power representative Vince Findley explained that to council.

Installation of a solar power “farm” on about five acres of city property could save St. Clairsville as much as $3 million over 30 years, Findley said. Obviously, that is because solar power requires no costly generation fuel.

If council approves, AEP would spend about $2.5 million on the equipment and would maintain it. The city’s participation would be in providing the land and covering between $10,000 and $11,000 in property taxes each year.

As much as 5% of St. Clairsville’s electricity needs could be filled by solar power, Findley estimated. That much power are relatively low cost would be a minor windfall for the city. What to do with the savings would be up to council, Findley noted.

Of course, any savings ought to be passed through to residents and businesses. That ought to be a given.

Should council members proceed? Their first step should be obtaining expert, independent advice. With all due respect to AEP, its officials’ allegiance is first to the company.

That is not to say a beneficial partnership cannot be arranged. AEP would have a major financial commitment to the St. Clairsville project, if it proceeds.

If an analysis of the proposal indicates St. Clairsville residents and businesses would benefit from the project, city council members should go ahead with it. The issue is that simple.

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