After its Energy Committee recommended a solar developer to work with, the Rutland Town Select Board is taking more time to consider the decision.
Board Chairman Joshua Terenzini said Friday he asked the board to table until its next meeting the decision to work with Green Lantern Solar on building a 150-kilowatt solar array on a town-owned, capped landfill near Northwood Park.
Several solar companies have approached the town in recent months with offers to be part of the state’s net-metering program. Under the program, an “off-taker,” which in this case would be the town, gets credit from the electric utility on its power bills depending on how much energy the solar project produces.
On April 10, the board’s Energy Committee, consisting of board members Joe Denardo, John Paul Faignant and Mary Ashcroft, met with Ralph Meima, of Green Lantern Solar, and Phil Allen, owner of Same Sun of Vermont. The committee had been told by the board to review these proposals at a previous meeting. According to minutes from the meeting, the committee voted 3-0, after leaving an executive session, to recommend Green Lantern Solar’s proposal to the Select Board.
According to the minutes, Allen’s proposal involved the town getting an up-front payment of $40,000, and saving $4,650 annually on its power bills over 25 years — a minimum of $156,250 over a 25-year period. This would be for a 150-kilowatt facility. If he were to build a 500-kilowatt facility, Rutland Town would get credit on 150-kilowatts of it, with the balance going to benefit other Rutland Town individuals or entities. In response to questions from the committee, Allen said the $40,000 upfront payment covers leasing the land. If the town wants to buy the array, it could do so after five years.
Meima, in his pitch, according to the minutes, said his numbers might be different from Same Sun’s because they’re based on estimates of power usage. Green Lantern Solar proposed building a 150-kilowatt array that could save the town $38,000 per year. Rent was estimated at $3,500, but Meima said since this hasn’t been negotiated yet, it could be raised. Rent on a 500 kW facility would be $10,000 per year. He said a one-time, up-front lease payment is also an option. He said the array could be bought by the town after seven years.
According to minutes of the April 16 board meeting, Faignant gave the board a summary of the Energy Committee’s meeting, and made a motion to accept the offer from Green Lantern for a 150-kilowatt array with a maintenance agreement and option to purchase after seven years. Ashcroft seconded the motion.
Ashcroft, according to the minutes, said the details of the final contract would be worked out by the Energy Committee.
Terenzini said in a Friday interview he asked that the motion be tabled so he could have more time to think it over. He said there’s no financial ramifications for waiting until the next board meeting.