Atlanta makes progress with installation of solar panels at homes, city-owned buildings

By David Pendered

John Rutherford Seydel, an environmental advocate and Atlanta’s sustainability director, is among those who are talking up Atlanta’s program to install solar panels on homes. Meantime, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms joined in the launch of the city’s effort to install solar panels on 24 city-owned buildings.

Residential Installation, Creative Solar USA

Creative Solar USA is based in Kennesaw and will handle the inspections, recommendations and installations for the Solarize Atlanta program. The company also managed the Solarize Decatur-DeKalb program. This installation is in Decatur.. Credit: Creative Solar USA

Taking to Facebook on Thursday, Seydel wrote:

  • “Atlantans! Interested in solar? This is your first step, you can get your free evaluation through #SolarizeAtlanta today!”

On Monday, Bottoms and about 100 other supporters gathered at the C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center to celebrate installation of energy efficiency upgrades at the facility renamed from the Adamsville Recreation Center to honor the former Atlanta City Councilmember.

The building is to be topped by solar panels by the end of the month, according to the city’s plan.

The two initiatives are part of the city’s Solarize Atlanta program, which is working on a fairly aggressive timeline to complete the current program.

Solarize Atlanta was launched April 12. Homeowners have until Aug. 31 to enroll in the program. Managers of commercial properties have an enrollment deadline of Oct. 31.

The residential program has signed up 413 homeowners as of Friday, according to the website. Numbers are important because the more households that enroll, the greater are the savings, according to a statement from Creative Solar USA, the company chosen as the official installer for the residential program.

Creative Solar is part of what’s called a “plug and pay” program. The idea is to have a single contractor handle the installations because of advantages described as vetted contractors, vetted materials, predetermined pricing, and trusted solar evaluations – the process Seydel mentioned in his Facebook post.

solar energy, atlanta mayor

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms spoke Monday to about 100 folks gathered to celebrate the solar installation that’s to be completed this month at the C.T. Natatorium and Recreation Center. Credit: Maggie Lee

Creative Solar was the installer for Solarize Decatur-DeKalb, and company founder and CEO Russell Seifert said the company is honored to be chosen as official residential installer for Atlanta.

“With our experience as a Solarize installer, the team at Creative Solar USA wants to help Atlanta residents get clean, cost-effective solar power at the best possible price,” Seifert said in a statement. “Bulk buying and other unique savings of Solarize not only can provide lower costs, but they help take the mystery and guesswork out of the solar installation process.”

For the 24 city-owned buildings, Atlanta has signed a 20-year Solar Energy Procurement Agreement with Cherry Street Energy.

The plan is for the solar panels to displace a significant portion of the energy used by the facilities. Cherry Street is to provide predictably price electricity to the city over the course of the agreement, according to statement released by Cherry Street.

Stephanie Stuckey, Atlanta’s chief resilience officer, said the agreement will create benefits in addition to a renewable resource.

“The Solar Atlanta Program highlights the power of public and private sector partnerships to advance the City’s sustainability commitments while also generating jobs and economic development,” Stuckey said in a statement. “We’re also grateful for the inter-departmental partnerships with Watershed, Aviation, Parks, Fire, and Office of Enterprise Asset Management to achieve cross-sector energy savings.”

Terms of the agreement call for Cherry Street Energy to pay for the installation of solar panels, to sell the power at competitive market rates, and provide power to the city at a fixed rate, per kilowatt, for 20 years.

The installation is to be complete by late August at the following locations:

CT Martin Rec Ctr 3201 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
Auto Service Building 815 Old Flat Shoals Rd.
Ben Hill Rec Ctr 2405 Fairburn Rd.
Bessie Branham Rec Ctr 2051 Delano Dr.
CA Scott Rec Ctr 1565 MLK Dr
Coan Rec Ctr 1530 Woodbine Rd.
Dunbar Rec Ctr 477 Windsor Ave.
Fire Station 1 71 Elliot St.
Fire Station 12 1288 DeKalb Ave .
Fire Station 14 1203 Lee St.
Fire Station 17 1489 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd.
Fire Station 18 2007 Oakview Rd.
Fire Station 2 1568 Jonesboro Rd.
Fire Station 28 1925 Hollywood Rd
Fire Station 38 2911 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway
Fire Station 4 309 Edgewood Ave.
Fire Station 5 2825 Cambellton Rd.
Fire Station 8 1711 Marietta Blvd.
Grant Park Rec Ctr 537 Park Ave.
Groove Park Rec Ctr 750 Francis Pl
Rosel Fann Rec Ctr 365 Cleveland Ave.
Sarah Lowrie Comm Ctr 950 Gerabaldi St.
Special Service WHSE 820 Murphy Ave.
Thomasville Heights Rec Ctr 1835 Henry Thomas Dr.

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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