Ottawa to begin converting sunlight to energy

Ottawa’s first large-scale solar initiative broke ground Monday, the city’s utilities director said.

The rectangular solar panels should be operating at the city’s power and water plant on the corner of West Second and Beech streets in four weeks, Dennis Tharp, Ottawa’s utilities director, said Monday.

Starting with a 15,600-watt solar photovoltaic system, the city expects to phase into a 90,000-watt system over several years, Jeff Oleson, Ottawa assistant utility director, said last year. The initial phase is to acquaint power plant personnel and other city staff who will be responsible for maintenance.

“We can kind of grow into it, understand it and figure out exactly how that affects the operation of our city,” Oleson said.

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