Superior’s City Council is lending a hand with plans to establish a solar garden near Heritage Park.
The Council approved transferring city-owned land to Superior Water, Light and Power for its plans to build a 2.5-acre solar garden.
“The property was presumably theirs,” said Jason Serck, economic development, port and planning director. He said back in the 1950s or 1960s, the city had intended to transfer the property to Superior Water, Light and Power; however, when they started title work, a deed couldn’t be found.
The deed that would be filed when the transfer takes place would be restrictive and the property would revert back to city ownership if the project isn’t done, Serck said.
“What the city gets is access to renewable energy,” Mayor Jim Paine said. “I personally believe we should have more access to renewable energy in the City of Superior and I’ve heard it from citizens, as well.”
Paine said by transferring the land for the project, the city is able to partner with the company to provide residents access to renewable energy.
The solar garden, named Superior Solar, will be built on the 2.5-acre site chosen because the local distribution grid can handle the additional energy. At 470 kilowatt hours, it’s large enough to power about 115 homes. All SWL&P residential and business customers are eligible to participate.
The cost of the solar garden — including installation and maintenance over the 25-year life of the program — will be fully paid by customer subscriptions.
Councilor Keith Kern questioned what happens if the project is abandoned once the solar garden is constructed. He said it shouldn’t be the city’s burden to restore the site if it becomes an eyesore in the neighborhood.
Serck said it’s something the city can address with Superior Water, Light and Power.
The project is expected to go before the Plan Commission in April when the company seeks a special-use permit for the project, Serck said.
“I think it’s a great project,” Councilor Brent Fennessey said. “I think it’s a great way for the city to show their investment, a nice public-private project, and to show that we’re serious about this and we’re willing to invest.”