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City of Foley adding solar panels along Highway 59

(img: WPMI) City of Foley adding solar panels along Highway 59

The City of Foley is planning to begin construction next week on a solar panel array to be placed in an empty lot along Highway 59.

City leaders said the solar panel station is a Riviera Utilities project and will be fenced in on the property adjacent to the Foley Justice Center on Section Avenue.

Wayne Trawick, Foley City Councilman, said they expect the new solar panel array to be an eye catching addition along Highway 59 with a ton of upside.

"It's exciting for the educational purpose of it. It's exciting that we're going to try and stay on the cutting edge of this technology that's coming," said Trawick.

Trawick said the solar arrays will be available to the public as an educational tool, especially for local students.

"Our youth is going to be able to go to this thing and be taught about solar energy. It will be something that the tourists can come and be taught about; the electrical grids and how these things will interact with them," Trawick said.

Tom DeBell, General Manager of Riviera Utilities, said they're installing the panels through funding from the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority.

While not very powerful, the solar panels will still generate about 50 kilowatts in energy for Riviera Utilities.

According to the U.S. Energy Information, the average American home uses about 29 kilowatts in electricity every day.

"We will get the benefit from that. We've got an arrangement with AMEA that all the power will come back to us," said DeBell.

DeBell said they are considering adding charging stations for electric vehicles.

The array could pave the way for similar projects in the future.

"We can get a good feel for what they do through different parts of the day and in different types of weather or cloud cover," DeBell said, "If we have the opportunity to put in something even larger, we'd have a better understanding of what it takes and what kind of output you can expect."

Officials said construction on the solar panels will begin next week and are expected to be finished in August.

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