Rooftop too expensive

Regarding "Maybe rooftop solar?" by Francis Van Ausdal Aug. 7: As a friend of 10x20 I am supportive of as much rooftop solar as individuals and the city can afford. If we could meet the 10 percent power replacement promoted by the ordinance using roofs, we would still have issues but we would have met the objective of the ordinance, right?

Yes, but ...

The capital cost of rooftop solar would be triple that of a 50-acre solar farm, even including the cost of purchase of the 50 acres (from the city) by the Electrical Department, new transmission and substation changes.

The cost of rooftop solar would be paid (at least) partially by the city: once, when the installation occurs (credits), and again, when the power generated is credited to the homeowner — not the city. The homeowner would make a significant capital investment as well. Overhead charges by the Electric Department would necessarily stay the same, so other tax/ratepayers would bear higher costs to support those fortunate enough to own roofs and to have the capital for the rooftop investment.

The city has no money (for anything, not even a reasonable emergency reserve). This demonstrates the need for the larger project.

The 50-acre project should be paid for by the ratepayers and the tax benefits available to private builders, not by taxpayers. If the rates proposed by a vendor for such a project are unacceptably high (and taking account of our contract with the Bonneville Power Administration), perhaps some scaling back or some delay in the overall project should be considered.

A friend envisions the solar farm as a "rooftop solar installation over the entire city" with costs/benefits allocated to everyone here.

We will not know actual costs until the city has responses to a request for proposals from qualified vendors. The RFP should be allowed to go forward to fully investigate the most reasonable path forward.

Dave Helmich