ESCANABA — The sun did not cooperate but the solar panels installed at the Delta County Airport by the city of Escanaba were working yesterday when members of the Escanaba Electric Advisory Committee and City Council met at the site to see the completion of the city’s solar garden.
Electric Superintendent Mike Furmanski said it has been mostly cloudy since the solar garden went online Aug. 24 but the more than 35-hundred pnaels have been working very well.
“Right from the word go we had 12 of the 15 inverters come right up. Two of the three that didn’t come up initially, one of the guys from the contractor was able to get those two up within 24 hours. But, yeah, it’s been generating power. Something we’ve been working on for a very long time and nice to see it be a reality,” said Furmanski.
Electric Advisory Committee member Glendon Brown has been very instrumental in the development of the solar garden. He gave a tour of the panels to committee and city council members. He says the $1.2 million project ended up being a good deal.
“We estimate right now, what’s called 25 year average cost of generation is going to be around five cents a kilowatt hour. That’s lower than the energy that we are buying right now on contract for the city,” said Brown.
Furmanski says he expects the solar garden to grow in the future. The facility was built for expansion. Currently, the 1.16 megawatt facility is expected to produce about 2 percent of the city’s energy needs.
The goal is to eventually sell some of the panels to homeowners and businesses in the city. Furmanski says panels should be available for sale by October.