Tallahassee Power Gets Some Sun

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Tallahassee is going green when it comes to powering homes. The city is purchasing solar power, which is clean energy from the sun.

Tallahassee business owner Bill Harrold has powered his store with solar energy for three years and doesn't regret it.

"The calculations I ran show that it saves us about $800 a month in utility savings because of the electricity it produces," he says.

The City of Tallahassee agreed to purchase one megawatt of energy from new "solar sausages" developed by Florida State University.

"Energy will flow into our distribution system and then, it's no specific homes it flows through, but it flows through our electric grid, into the homes that are closest, or are the easiest path for the electricity," City of Tallahassee Power Marketing Manager Ben Cowart says.

Cowart says the systems will be installed by locally owned companies on Yulee Street and Plant Street. The panels will then produce a total of two megawatts.

"We're just excited about this project because of the overall fit into our E-Plus program for EnergySmart, and to bring renewable energy to our customers," Cowart says.

As for Harrold, he's already installed solar panels in his home too, and has already sold power back to the city.

"In the morning's like this, my meter at the house is running backwards also, so I'm producing more power than I'm using," Harrold says.

The City of Tallahassee says the solar panels will also bring 25 new jobs into the area. Cowart says the first solar units will be installed by the end of this year. The rest should be done by the end of 2012. He says residents' bills won't go down but the solar power will help keep them steady.

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