City turns down offer to install free solar power in Madison

The Madison City council voted 5 to 2 to reject an ordinance that would allow the city to enter into an agreement with Redstone Energy Group for the installation of several solar energy carports and picnic coverings throughout the city.

“I’m worried that these things will hurt the aesthetic feel that we’ve worked so hard to maintain in our city,” said councilman Larry Vannoy.

Redstone Energy Group (REG) offered the city a deal to install, maintain, and repair solar panels for 25 years. The city would have an opportunity in ten years to buy the equipment from REG. Otherwise, the city and REG would own the equipment 50/50 at the end of a 25 year term.

The proposed locations for the carport and picnic covering structures were:

• City Hall parking lot on the north side

• Fire Station #3 on County Line Road

• Dublin Park in the parking lots and picnic areas

• Palmer Park in the parking lots and picnic areas

Huntsville and Madison Hospital have both entered into similar agreements with REG.

City council members’ other concern was that after 25 years they would only own 50% of the equipment.

In the proposal, REG would install and maintain the equipment and sell the energy it created to TVA. The parking lot structures would feature chargers for electric cars that would be free of charge for citizens to use.

The energy would be distributed into the energy grid, which means nearby buildings could still receive some power during power outages.

“This is a great idea, but I’m not sure we want to be first to try it out,” said City Council President Ronica Ondocsin.

Council members Tim Holcombe, Steve Haraway, Tim Cowles, Tommy Overcash, and Ondocsin opposed the agreement.