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Bloomington Accelerates Plans To Install Solar On City Facilities

A solar array at Wible Lumber in northeast Indiana (Nick Janzen/IPBS)

Photo: Nick Janzen

The city of Bloomington plans to install new solar panels on over 30 city buildings.

The Bloomington City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to approve a plan that effectively fast-tracks the city’s solar panel installation schedule.

In order to receive better rates on energy put back into the electric system, the city hopes to install panels at 30 different sites by the end of the year.

The rush is a reaction to SB309, a state law that would reduce the value of energy put back into the grid, if those units are installed after January 1, 2018.

Sustainability Coordinator Jaqui Bauer says the solar installations are a step in the right direction for the city’s energy mix.

“The total production from those systems is gonna be about 14 percent of our total electricity usage in city operation, so a pretty huge contribution to our energy footprint,” Bauer says.

The city is also offering reduced-price solar installation to residents who want to install their system before the laws change next year.

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