KNAU and Arizona News
3:43 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Flagstaff Turns on Huge Solar Array

Flagstaff officials fired up a new solar panel installation on Tuesday.

The city has installed 2,000 solar panels spanning 4.3 acres, and has plans for more.

A celebratory crowd gathered to flip the switch on a new solar installation.

The array,  out at the Wildcat Hill Wastewater Treatment Plant will provide 21% of the facility’s needs.

The city is working with an energy developer to offset the high energy costs of running the plant.

This is the first of three planned installations.

The Aquaplex and City Hall will also get solar panels by the end of the year.

Nicole Woodword, the city’s sustainability officer said, "Flagstaff’s a perfect environment for solar because we have a high elevation. We also have cooler temperatures that allow for the technology to operate more efficiently."

Each year the system should produce one million kilowatt hours.

Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours says that while upfront costs will be a little higher, the city expects to see the returns in ten years.

"Users will also look at solar and say, if the city of Flagstaff can do it, maybe it’s a good idea," he said.

This installation puts the city on track to get 20% of its energy needs from renewables by 2015, and 50% by 2030.