CRI Questions New Solar Park in Milford - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

CRI Questions New Solar Park in Milford

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Is a new solar park in Kent County worth it? That's the question energy policy experts at the Caesar Rodney Institute are asking.

The Milford-area park opened in mid-April. It's Delaware's largest solar park - 80 acres and 15 megawatts. The state says it's enough to power 9,000 homes when the sun is shining.
There was a lot of excitement over its opening - excitement CRI, a conservative think tank, say may not be warranted.

David Stevenson, with CRI, says he wants solar to be successful.

"But right now there are just subsidies that go along with solar projects," he said. "There's approximately $15 million in federal tax credits with that project. "

"That's not something we can do anything about," said Pat McCullar, head of the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation, the company taking power from the park. "That's Congress's act. They chose to incentives the construction of renewable energy."

McCullar says it's part of fulfilling a state law requiring his company to get 3.5-percent of its energy from solar by 2025.

"I give DEMEC a lot of credit," Stevenson said. "The way they've done it with this solar farm is the cheapest way they could work to meet the requirements. I'm not complaining about that. I'm complaining that the state requires them to buy it and that the state and federal government provides so much subsidy to it."

Stevenson estimates the park will add $2 million to energy bills for customers in DEMEC's nine cities.

"It's not an accurate statement," McCullar said. "Even if it was, $2 million would add less than 1-percent to our customer's bill. However, it's not accurate. The actual cost to our customers is actually zero."

McCullar and Stevenson also disagree on if federal subsidies to solar power are having the desired impact. McCullar says they help develop technology that increase output and reduces cost. Stevenson says those things would happen faster if the government let the market be.

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