Follow: More agencies should use solar energy to reduce power costs

July 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

It’s important for the government of Guam to do much more to reduce its use of oil-powered electricity by incorporating alternative energy sources for its facilities, and more government of Guam agencies should follow in the footsteps of the University of Guam and Guam Community College in using solar energy to control power costs.

The University of Guam has led the way. Earlier this year, it added more solar panels to its inventory of renewable energy sources. With the expansion, the university is expected to save $50,000 a year in energy costs.

And earlier this month, the Guam Power Authority announced the Roof Top Solar pilot project, a new pilot program with Guam Community College and a third-party developer that would add 1 to 3 megawatts of renewable energy the power grid. The utility would use property on the GCC campus for a photovoltaic system, and sell the energy back to the community college at a discounted rate.

The Guam Department of Education plans to have solar panels installed at some of its schools by the end of the year.

Recent law allows Guam DOE’s solar energy purchases to amount to up to 80 percent of what the agency is being charged by GPA. Currently, the education agency pays about $1 million a month for power. Superintendent Jon Fernandez says his agency will see significant savings through these efforts.

GPA officials have raised concerns the education agency’s project is independent of the agency’s renewable energy efforts and could cost the power agency millions of dollars a year. Agency officials told lawmakers the Department of Education should use the utility’s Rooftop Solar Program, which would provide savings for all GPA ratepayers.

While there should be an integrated approach to incorporate solar power at government facilities, the power utility needs to realize that it must adjust its operations and expenses as more agencies and ratepayers use renewable energy.

Renewable energy is the future that must be embraced.

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