Recently Griffin Peck, the Sustainability Project Coordinator for the city of Morris, presented to the city council on the performance of the solar arrays that were installed on Morris buildings in 2021 and 2022.
Throughout 2021 and 2022, the city of Morris added 4 solar arrays to city buildings. These consisted of a 23 kW array at city hall, a 31 kW array at the community center, a 36 kW array at the library, and a 23 kW array at the municipal liquor store. Initially it was estimated that these 4 arrays would save the city approximately $19,000 in electrical costs. It was predicted that the arrays would produce 176,000 kWh each year off-setting approximately 80.1 MTs of CO2e each year. This would reduce Morris’s LGO GHG footprint by about 4%
However, these were predictions and did not take into account unforeseen issues with solar panels including wet snow that made it more difficult to panels to shed snowfall on their own. Also our largest array, at the library, was not connected for the first half of the year and thus not producing power. Our kWh production for year one ended up being 118,000 kWh with a total year one savings (reduced electricity from grid + credits from electricity sold to grid) was $12,134 avoiding approximately 54.1 MT’s of CO2e emissions in 2022. This reduced Morris’s 2022 LGO GHG footprint by about 2.7%.
But, when comparing to the energy use and GHG emission from these buildings alone, a much higher reduction is realized. In 2021 these four building used 274,088 kWh which emitted 124.7 metric tons of GHGs. In 2022 these four buildings used a similar amount of total energy, but only used 156,000 kWh from the grid which resulted in a 43% reduction in grid energy use and GHG emissions. (Note: Morris’s solar arrays on city buildings were partially funded through a utility program whereby the utility paid for a portion of our arrays and received the carbon credits in return. Although we cannot claim these credits directly, I still wanted to include the reductions in this report.)