Bartow celebrated the opening of a privately funded, $11.5 million solar farm Thursday.

  • Electricity will be supplied to Bartow under 25-year fixed-rate agreement
  • Privately funded solar farm opened Thursday
  • Residents could see reduction in their electricity bills

It sits on 40 acres of land and is expected to generate enough electricity to meet the needs of 1,000 homes a year. City Manager George Long said that's about 5 percent of Bartow's customers.

"It's clean, it's green, it saves the city money and it will save the customers money as well," said George Long.

Long said the solar farm is part of the reason residents may soon see a reduction in their electricity bills.

"The savings that they're going to see beginning April 1 will range from 9.5 percent to 13 percent, a reduction," said Long.

The reduction is part of an ordinance commissioners will be discussing during the Mar. 19 commission meeting, according to Long.

Long has wanted the city to purchase solar energy for more than 10 years. Population growth and increasing energy demand drove the city to request proposals for the project in 2015.

"The cost of producing power through, by using solar energy, has dropped so much over the last several years," said Long.

All of the electricity produced at the solar farm will be supplied to Bartow under a 25-year fixed-rate agreement with NovaSol Energy, the Orlando based company that won the bid for the project.

"In this instance, the city had zero dollars out of pocket that they spent. There was no investment, no risk for the city. They didn't have to take on any debt," explained Haseeb Qadri, CEO of NovaSol Energy.

The solar farm was financed and constructed by third-party investors.

The fixed rate contract protects the city from peaking energy costs and possible future price increases for traditional fuels, according to a news release.

NovaSol Energy also chipped in a solar system for Bartow's City Hall. It will produce a third of the building’s annual energy consumption.