Brightergy Solar Solutions and Kansas City Power & Light will team up to install solar panels on 80 buildings by the end of this year, as part of Kansas City’s plans to go solar, the Kansas City Star reports.
The buildings comprise police and fire departments and community structures. The city will lease the energy for 20 years and pay a fixed rate for the electricity.
Unlike California and other states where the cost of energy and solar adoption are both high, the Midwest has been slower to convert to solar power, which makes Kansas City’s plans stand out.
Power costs about 9 cents per kWh in Missouri, compared to 15 cents in California. But it makes economic sense to convert to solar power now in Missouri, the newspaper reports, since in addition to historically low solar panel prices, the state also offers a $2 rebate for each installed kilowatt, on top of federal incentives. State incentives will expire next year while federal incentives will phase out in 2016.
The solar power generated by the 80 buildings will provide the city with $40,000 in savings in the first year.
Cities like San Francisco rely more on solar but the energy is sourced from solar farms rather than rooftop solar. If solar panel prices continue to decline, the boom in solar installations will continue even after incentives expire, Adam Blake, CEO of solar installer Brightergy, told the paper.
Brightergy has also tapped demand from the educational market for leased solar power and installed solar panels under a lease agreement at schools in the St. Louis area.
The state of Missouri also offers rebates for energy efficiency upgrades. Utility company Kansas City Power & Light has been allowed to raise its rates marginally to cover $40 million in costs from offering rebates and incentives over the next three years to drive efficiency upgrades.