Section: News

Village Council moves forward with solar power feasibility study

Gambier’s Village Council may agree to let the sun shine — but only on its own terms.

The Village Council may allow Community Renewable Energy, a solar energy company, to conduct a feasibility study that will explore the cost and logistics of installing a 3.7-acre solar panel project in Gambier.

“The feasibility study is this company looking at what size of a system they could design to provide enough power to make it worthwhile,” Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman said. “They want to look at how much power the wastewater treatment plant uses now, and then they’ll see if they can design a system that could provide some portion of that power. They’re going to ask how big the system would need to be and how much the electricity would cost.”

Previously, the Council agreed to the feasibility study as long as Village Solicitor Clint Bailey examined the proposal more closely and agreed to it. At Monday’s Council meeting, Mayor Kirk Emmert reported that Bailey had reviewed it and disagreed with the wording of one paragraph. He rewrote the paragraph and sent it to the company, and has yet to receive a response.

“The paragraph involved a phrase that stated the solar project would move forward ‘if this turns out to be a good deal for both sides,’” Bailey said at the meeting. “I’m not sure we can commit to it even if it’s a ‘good deal’ because I don’t know what a good deal is.”

Other Council members voiced similar skepticism.

“There is not a consensus that, even if it is a good deal, we would be in favor of doing it,” Village Council member and mayor-elect Kachen Kimmell said.

Council member Betsy Heer agreed, reminding the Council, “This is just to make a proposal. We don’t have to agree to the proposal.”

The Council is now waiting for the company to reply to Bailey’s edits. If they agree to the new language, Community Renewable Energy will begin its study in the upcoming months.


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