First Sioux Center business adding solar

The Sioux Center City Council approved an agreement that allows Scott Beernink of Sioux Center, owner of the building at 67 Third Ave. NE, to install solar panels on the roof for its electricity.

SIOUX CENTER—The Sioux Center City Council approved an agreement that allows a business to install solar panels for its electricity.

Scott Beernink of Sioux Center, owner of the building at 67 Third Ave. NE, plans to have a 10kw solar array installed on the roof this fall as part of a remodel project for the structure, which houses the Sioux Center News/Shopper office at present.

Assistant utilities manager Adam Fedders told the council at its Oct. 11 meeting this is the first business in the community to follow through with installing a solar panel system for its electricity

“We don’t have a lucrative program for solar,” he said. “We have had calls before but the low payback often turns projects off.”

Fedders explained that the city doesn’t have net metering but sells its electricity wholesale through Missouri River Energy Services since the city contracts with MRES for its power. As a result, a customer would get about 1.91 cents back instead of closer to 9 cents if the solar array generated enough power to put back into the city’s system.

Because Beernink has chosen to continue with the project, an Interconnection and Power Purchase agreement needs to be in place to pay the customer for power generated.

“My daughter initiated this project,” Beernink said. “She’s part of an initiative to help make Luther College carbon neutral. She said the roof of this building would be ideal for solar panels. I said if she initiated this project, I would get behind it. It will eventually pay for itself but because the city does not do net metering like a lot of other cities, that pay back will take considerably longer. This project is more about social responsibly that economics but that’s OK. Not everything has to be about money.”

Fedders said the agreement will need to reviewed and renewed annually.

“Some people love the idea of solar panels, others don’t with how they can look,” said mayor David Krahling. “The fact that this one will be discreet is interesting.”

The council unanimously approved the agreement. Fedders said MRES needs to approve the agreement as well before the panels can be installed.

“I can see if this gets to be more popular, which I hope it does, this could be good for the community,” said council member Dale Den Herder.