It was a celebration of vision as Newcomerstown officials joined state officials and officlals from Regor Energy and Valta Energy for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the village’s new solar energy program.
Mayor Pat Cadle hosted a reception at the Olde Main Street Museum on Friday, Oct. 26, followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony at one of the two solar panel fields that have been constructed for the village.
In addition to Mayor Cadle, speakers included Ohio Sen. Jay Hottinger, Ohio Rep. Al Landis, Dawn Baker (representing Ohio Cong. Bill Johnson), John Nay of Regor Energy and Jace Musselman, Mark Milius, Becky Waldfogel and Thomas Strong, all of Valta Energy.
Mayor Cadle, who had been involved with adding solar panels for the Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District, talked about the development of the project.
Acknowledging the village of Newcomerstown had been under a state fiscal emergency several years ago, Mayor Cadle said, "A lot of companies didn’t want to take chances on the village. Valta did."
It’s an investment of approximately $2.3 million for Valta, with the village’s investment being about $11,000. The village established a 25-year payment plan with Valta Energy in which the money the village would typically pay to AEP for the electric bill will go to Valta Energy instead. The payment plan has a fixed price, whereas the price of electric will rise annually. Cadle said the village expects to save 12 percent the first year. The money the village saves will be put into a special fund that will help pay for maintenance and replacement.
John Ney, director of business development for Regon Energy, helped facilitate the deal.
Sen. Hottinger pointed to the vision of Mayor Cadle and the village.
"This is so forward thinking," Sen. Hottinger said, "This is a celebration for the village and for your leadership."
Ohio Rep. Al Landis, chairman of the legislature’s Energy and Natural Resources committee, said Newcomerstown was a good example of developing diversified energy.
"I’m on a national energy policy group, and they’re going to hear about Newcomerstown, they’re going to hear about this project," Rep. Landis said.
Each of the government representatives presented resolutions to the mayor and village representatives.
The two large solar panel fields incorporated into the village’s energy plans will eventually save the village $185,000 a year, Mayor Cadle said. The fields are located at the water treatment facility and sewage treatment facility, housing 2300 and 900 panels respectively.
The panels are able to draw in enough power to run the facilities 24 hours a day, even though they aren’t able to store the energy. Cloudy days and foul weather aren’t enough to deter them either. If there’s enough light to see, the panels can do their job. The real benefits of a solar shift will be long term, but Cadle said this is only the first step. In the future, he hopes to be able to invest more in solar to where they’d be able to produce energy instead of breaking even, which is what’ll happen at the two current facilities.
The reception also allowed other communities to learn about solar energy. Representatives of Cambridge, Sugarcreek, West Lafayette and Millersburg were among those invited to the event.