The city of Hamilton’s utilities soon will be asking residents whether they think the city should take steps to harvest solar power. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Hamilton wants to know: Should its utilities go solar?

Already, Butler County’s largest city’s power is 49 percent, largely because of three hydroelectric power plants — two on the Ohio River and a small one along the Great Miami River.

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But recently, while the city was taking input from citizens about regulations it is considering to let residents install solar panels at their homes and connect to the city-owned electric grid, some people suggested the city itself should go solar.

“One of the ideas that came up was the idea of community solar, so we got to talking about the meeting afterwards,” said Nathan Perry, the city’s utility business manager.

Hamilton has plenty of property that could be used for solar installations. “If we have a large interest in that, we can see what that looks like, if that’s something we could do economically, feasibly, those sort of things,” Perry said.

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SDS Research, which has done surveys for Hamilton in the past, will contact 400 randomly chosen households to see what they think. The calls will come from telephone number (208) 438-6100, and the survey will take about 7 minutes.

To prevent scammers from taking advantage of the survey, officials said surveyers will not request personal information such as social security numbers, email addresses, or home addresses, and will not be selling anything. People should call the police if they get calls from people doing those things.

Surveyers also will be asking about homeowners’ interest in having their own solar power.

City utilities’ Executive Director of Infrastructure Jim Logan said, “Solar energy is a clean, renewable resource and plays an increasingly important role in supplying electricity to customers. As we continue to look at diversifying our power supply resources, we are seeking the input of our consumer-owners to gauge interest in pursuing a community solar project.”

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