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Solar farm

Fremont’s second solar farm has a contractor.

The Fremont City Council approved a contract with Gen Pro Energy Solutions, who installed the first solar farm, during its meeting on March 27, City Administrator Brian Newton said.

The contract is for $1,525,200, city records show. The purchase agreement stipulated that the farm must be up and online by Oct. 1, Newton added.

The price per panel was slightly higher this time around, jumping from around $180 to about $200, Newton said. That’s because the panels were larger than those used in the first farm, and also because of a recently imposed U.S. tariff on imported solar energy equipment.

The staff report recommended that the City Council authorize the contract and purchase order to GenPro because of price, “equipment specifications, contractor experience proposed project staff and approach and maintenance after installation.”

“Staff has had a favorable experience with GenPro Energy Solutions during the implementation of Solar Farm #1,” the recommendation reads. “GenPro has also proposed the use of the same equipment that was installed at the first solar farm, which will help alleviate maintenance and inventory issues in the future, and also create continuity between the systems.”

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Additionally, the city has received a $300,000 grant for 1500 panels as part of the farm, Newton told the Tribune. The city is working with the state to apply the energy generated from those panels to low-to-moderate income Fremont residents who qualify for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Newton said. That would help residents who are low-to-moderate income utilize renewable energy.

“Normally renewable energy programs are only for those that can afford it because they cost a little bit more,” Newton said. “That’s what I found when we did Phase I, there really was nobody that was low-to-moderate income.”

The second solar farm was initiated after the first farm sold out in seven weeks. There are 150 people on a waiting list for the second farm, and around 300 who have expressed interest in solar energy in general, Newton said.

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