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|Solar project to begin|
|Written by Susanna Sheehan|
|Wednesday, 06 November 2013 10:28|
Construction of the solar array project on the capped landfill off Mayflower Street could begin as early as December, developers said this week.
Meeting with the Duxbury Board of Selectmen Monday, Tom Melehan of Renewable Energy Development Partners of Mashpee and Bill Fitzpatrick of American Capital Energy (ACE) of Lowell said they have almost everything they need to begin the project.
“All permits that are required to build we have,” said Fitzpatrick.
In October 2011, residents at a special town meeting approved the plan to build a solar photovoltaic array on a two-acre area behind the existing transfer station. American
Capital Energy was selected by the town as the contractor. The solar project is expected to generate 600,000-kilowatt hours of green energy. The town is leasing the land to ACE, which, in return, will sell the town discounted electricity, helping it save money on its electric bills. It is estimated that this solar project could net the town approximately $35,000 in utility costs savings and payment in lieu of taxes revenue annually.
Fitzpatrick said his company has obtained permits from the Duxbury Conservation Commission, the Natural Her- itage and Endangered Species Program, and the Department of Environmental Protection. It is still waiting for building and electrical permits from the town but expects to have them soon. ACE has also met all the requirements laid out by NStar, the local utility company. These include net metering requirements and interconnection requirements that will allow ACE to send its electricity into NStar’s system.
“We’ve identified all our subcontractors and they’re ready to go, and we have or- dered all our major equipment,” Fitzpatrick said. “We have everything we need to build this. We are ready to go.”
If ACE begins building the solar project in December, Fitzpatrick estimated it will take three to four months to complete, depending upon the weather. He said his company must meet a June 30 deadline for construction.
Selectmen agreed to a change in the town’s contract with ACE that will guarantee the town receives a minimum of 70 percent of its energy credit annually in case the array has difficulty producing electricity for whatever reason. This change is “more favorable” to the town, according to town counsel Anderson and Kreiger, as it measures guaranteed production annually and also requires any shortfall amount to be paid annually. The previous contract provided for the guarantee to be at 80 percent estimated output, which was measured in five-year intervals.
The change from the five- year measurement to an annu- al measurement was required by the Department of Energy Resources, said Melehan.
Jim Goldenberg, chairman of Duxbury’s Alternative Energy Committee, said the change would have little to no effect on the town’s savings on electricity.
“The only risk to the town in a worst case scenario is that the production drops below what we were expecting and the saving that we have will apply to fewer kilowatt hours,” said Goldenberg. “We’re not here to lose money on this. We might just have slightly less savings. These guys, if the output drops, they’re going to have less income to support their costs, so they’re going to make sure this system performs. I think our interests are aligned on this.”