Atlanta will become one of the first major cities to launch a solar program through its municipal buildings. The program will use existing state legislation and federal tax credits to purchase and install solar panels on 28 municipal buildings including recreation centers, fire stations, and one police station.
The project is projected to reduce the city’s carbon dioxide emissions by 73 million pounds while saving 216 million gallons of water through the year 2030. The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability inspected and evaluated more than 600 municipal buildings to determine the initial round of buildings that would benefit from solar panels.
The passage of House Bill 57, called the Solar Power Free Market Financing Act, allows the City of Atlanta to finance and deploy solar panels using power purchase agreements. The City has developed a plan to finance the solar installations with no up-front costs to Atlanta residents.
The city is expected to release an RFP that will start the bidding process for the project. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is in Paris this week for the global climate talks and said that the effects of climate change are global, but action needs to be local. He said he thinks it’s up to mayors and local governments to be the leaders on this issue.
“I mean, Atlanta’s not Seattle or San Francisco, but, you know, I challenge folks to show me – from the eastern border of Texas to the Atlantic Ocean, north to Maryland, D.C. and Virginia – who is being more aggressive on climate than we are,” the mayor said in an interview.