Cherry Street Energy to Install Solar Panels for the City of Macon

Jobie Peeples, WMAZ 10:54 AM. EST June 29, 2016

Mayor Robert Reichert says he hopes to spread an illuminating message in Macon-Bibb.

Tuesday, Macon-Bibb Commissioners approved to execute an agreement to construct two solar canopies in Macon-Bibb to power county buildings.

Director of Facilities Management Rob Ryals spoke at the meeting and argues that the project will save the county money.

"No possible way to lose money on this deal," Ryals said. "We can only save, and as they increase over the 20-year period, we will just save more and more as Georgia Power increases."

Cherry Street Energy, LLC will construct a solar canopy at the Emergency Management Center on Poplar Street and another at the Bibb County Sheriff's Office downtown Annex.

CEO of Cherry Street Energy, Michael Chanin, says the canopies won't cost Macon-Bibb anything, but they'll pay for the energy generated by the panels.

Reichert says there doesn't seem to be any upfront risks for the commission.

"So we're taking advantage of a tax credit proposal with a local company that's qualified as a third-party supplier who's got the investors and financial backers so all we have to do is sit back and watch for it to be ready," Reichert said.

And Bibb County Sheriff David Davis says he's excited to see how it benefits the Sheriff's Office.

"It'll help defray some of our costs for electricity to at some point it will probably be able to power the electricity for the whole facility," Davis said.

And Sam Kitchens, the county's Assistant Director for Parks and Beautification, says he hopes this is just the start of solar energy in Macon-Bibb.

"Our goal is to prove that this is a viable project moving forward and to use this as a stepping stone to move into more projects like this in the future," Kitchens said.

Chanin says they hope to begin soil testing next week and begin construction in a few months.