The sun was shining as the city of Carbondale celebrated the near-completion of a massive, and largely cost-free, solar project at three city facilities.
Local officials and project contractors gathered Thursday morning amid one of the arrays just south of the Public Safety Center -- formerly a grassy field and, years before that, the site of Lincoln Middle School -- to cut a ceremonial ribbon for the project.
The construction effort, which also includes separate solar arrays at the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant and on the roof of the Carbondale Civic Center, began last December.
Together, the three arrays are expected to provide about 1.875 million kilowatt-hours of energy for use by the city.
"That's something to be excited about and proud of," Mayor Mike Henry said during brief remarks.
Contractors for the project were Hawk--Attolo, StraightUp Solar, Lightwave Solar and Burke Electric.
Technically, the construction project has cost Carbondale nothing; the city commissioned the job in October 2019 and has entered into an agreement to purchase energy from the arrays at an average price of $.053 per kilowatt-hour. The arrangement lasts for 25 years.
According to project updates available on the city's website, work at the civic center was completed on Tuesday. Contractors were continuing finishing work this week at the other two sites.