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Rates for participation in the city of Hastings’ solar field project will soon go into effect.

Members of the Hastings City Council voted 8-0 during their regular meeting Monday to approve Ordinance 4596 updating the city code with a rate rider for participation in the solar project. Ordinances go into effect 15 days after passage.

“This covers all of the different options we have,” Derek Zeisler, Hastings Utilities director of marketing and energy, told the council.

Options include the purchase of installed panels, participating in a solar share program or a combination of the installation and share options. The options carry a one-time $50 enrollment fee due at the time of application that is refundable as a credit to the account after one year of participation.

The Hastings City Council approved earlier this year a $2.38 million bid from GenPro Energy Solutions for a 1.5 megawatt AC solar project with the purchase option.

This first phase of the solar project will include 6,012 panels within three arrays just west of Hastings Municipal Airport.

One installed panel is expected to average 48 kilowatt hours a month — 52 kWh in year one, and 45 kWh by year 30 — over the course of the project’s 30-year lifespan.

The one-time cost per purchased panel is $384.

One solar share will include three panels and equal 150 kWh.

The standard retail rate schedule still applies to all customers.

For a residential customer who uses 1,000 kWh per month, two solar shares would cover 30 percent of that usage.

Customers choosing the solar share option would also receive the base energy credit of 2.13 cents per kWh, but would pay a solar energy charge of 3.01 cents per kWh. Two shares — six panels and 300 kWh — would add $2.63 to a monthly electric bill for 1,000 kWh of consumption for a total of $110.16. A single share — slightly more than 15 percent of the average customer usage — would add $1.32 each month.

The electric rate rider shall be applicable to residential, commercial, general power and large power customers that sign a community solar service agreement.

The maximum number of kilowatt hours that may be purchased via solar shares or installed panels is limited to 80 percent of a customer’s annual electric usage.

Rates would be in effect for the life of the solar field.

“I would like to thank the Hastings Utilities staff, specifically Derek,” Mayor Corey Stutte said during Monday’s meeting. “Derek’s worked very hard on this over several months to get this right. It’s pretty impressive, the amount of work that’s gone on in the past six months just on this project alone.”

Zeisler has established the webpage www.cityofhastings.org/solar to provide for information for the public, including allowing customers to use their own information to see if participation in the solar project makes sense for them.

He said that page should be updated with that information by the middle of next week.

Participation in the solar project should be available to the public by the middle of August.

“Stay tuned, and if you’re interested in solar you’ll have plenty of opportunities; there’ll be 6,000 panels on the farm,” city administrator Dave Ptak said.

This article originally ran on hastingstribune.com.

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