Thousand Oaks will not place solar panels outside the Newbury Park Library.

The City Council’s capital facilities committee—comprising Mayor Pro Tem Jacqui Irwin and Councilmember Dennis Gillette—decided Jan. 19 the city would not pursue the $1.2-million project.

Irwin said the committee nixed the proposal because the city had lost out on a $372,000 grant.

“For me it’s important that projects make fiscal sense. . . . I feel uncomfortable with a payoff period that long,” Irwin said on Wednesday. “After we missed out on the grant, we just decided that fiscally it just didn’t make sense any more.”

Gillette agreed.

“I personally I think there will be other opportunities,” he said, referring to other grants the city could be eligible for.

He added that the city is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels.

In November, the City Council gave the go-ahead for the installation of carport-mounted solar panels in the parking lot of the library on Borchard Road.

The city had counted on the $1.2-million cost being offset by $372,000 of funding from the California Solar Initiative—a rebate program sponsored by the Public Utilities Commission and managed through Southern California Edison.

At that funding level, the city expected its contribution to be $440,000. Energy savings would have paid for the solar panels in 15 years.

But the following month the city learned it was ineligible for $372,000 in funding because its rebate application was filed too late. The city asked Edison to extend the deadline, but the power company declined.

Around Dec. 23 the city submitted another grant application.

By that time the most the city could qualify for was about $200,000—at least $172,000 less than was originally anticipated.

That meant taxpayers would pick up the difference, paying $612,000 instead of $440,000, and the payback period would increase to 18 to 20 years.

Andrew Powers, the city’s public information officer, said the $400,000 in federal stimulus money that would have helped offset the solar panel project at the library will be split between two other proposed solar projects, one at the former city hall on Hillcrest Drive and the other at a city yard on Rancho Conejo Road.

source: toacorn

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