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CJ City Council decides if big energy investment now is worth re - KOAM TV 7

CJ City Council decides if big energy investment now is worth return profit after several years

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CARL JUNCTION, MISSOURI -

On a mostly cloudy day comes a proposal that bets on much sunnier times ahead.

"They still work on semi-cloudy days," says Carl Junction City Manager Steve Lawver.  "It's just that the efficiency goes down on them.  They just don't produce quite as much."

Solar panels on the roofs of four city-owned buildings.  Lawver says that's a bright idea.

"We're already making a substantial payment on electricity," says Lawver.

It cost taxpayers $42,000 to pay for CJ's community center electricity all of last year.  Workers with a solar power company estimate the city would save $8,000 for a full calendar year's worth of using solar power.

At the police station, $16,000 would be reduced to a savings of $4,000.  The public works building would take a $4,000 bill and see a savings of $2,000.

The most expensive building, the waste water treatment plant, would see an $11,000 savings from last year's $66,000 electricity cost.

"I think it has its merits as a supplement to offset some of the other expenses, as far as fossil fuels," says Carl Junction resident Ron Forbis.

But CJ resident Keith Zorn asks, "If we have a hail storm, would those panels be protected?  And wind.  Would wind rip them off the roof?"

The total cost of the proposed project is $458,000, with $358,000 of that covered by a State of Missouri Department of Economic Development loan.  The rest of the $100,000 would come from the city's sales tax fund.

"They base your loan and your debt service on that loan on what the energy payback is," says Lawver.

City officials say it would take ten years to pay off the loan.  Then, it's extra cash in the City of CJ's budget.

 The solar panels would be installed by Roof Power Solar, based in Rich Hill, Missouri.

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