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McFee Park solar panels discussed

Representatives of Green Earth Solar LLC appeared before Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen to give a few details about the solar panels to be installed at McFee Park.

“These things are very tough,” Trevor Casey told the Board.

They were unlikely to be damaged by hail or inadvertent damage, such as balls hitting pavilion roofs where the panels will be placed.

“They are made with a hardened tempered glass that is actually going to be much harder than a car windshield,” Casey said.

“These things are made to withstand,” he added.

According to Casey, the panels come with a 25-year warranty and are guaranteed to still be operating at 80 percent efficiency, at least, at the end of those 25 years.

At 50 years, the panels still are likely to be 60 percent efficient.

Casey said the panels have a 28-year payback, including TVA’s Generation Partners 10-year agreement, in which TVA pays a premium for the power generated by the panels for the first 10 years they are installed.

“TVA will pay the premium for the power,” Casey said.

“TVA will do a 10 year agreement that basically says they will pay you 12 cents per kilowatt-hour on top of the going rate,” he added.

After 28 years, the Town’s investment will be paid off.

“That’s when it becomes essentially a profit,” Alderman John Williams clarified.

Casey said that if the cost of electricity increases, or if TVA extends its 10-year agreement, that would speed the payoff of the panels.

“They are very likely to do another agreement,” he added.

Rather than powering anything at the park, in the first 10 years, 100 percent of the power would be sold to TVA because it’s more profitable for the Town to sell the power than use it in the park.

The panels don’t require much maintenance, largely because they have no moving parts. At most, the panels might require a quick rinse to clear off pollen and dust if there’s a particularly dry year.

“There’s really no maintenance on these at all,” Casey said.

The Town is paying $69,200 for 48 panels, to be installed on the pavilion roofs at McFee Park.

Casey said the Town would benefit from “green” PR value.

“A lot of companies want to do business with other companies that are green. You’re seeing a lot of corporate initiatives,” he said. “And having it at a park, the younger generations are going to see these panels at a very young age and kind of introduce that.

“As they grow up, that could become important to them,” he added.


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