PUTNEY - The Selectboard has named a five-person committee to investigate the possibility of constructing a solar array on town-owned property to produce some of the electricity for the municipal buildings.
Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard said the board named the committee after a vendor made a proposal to put together a municipal solar project.
Stoddard said the board did not want to move ahead without looking at all of the town’s needs, and now the committee is going to see what it might take to power some of the municipal facilities with solar power.
"The board wanted to look at all of the needs of the town," said Stoddard. "We want to know what our energy needs are and then find out if there is another way to go about getting those needs met."
Daniel Hoviss, Tom Simon, Nick Ziter, Mark Baker and Alice Maes are going to produce a report before the end of the year.
They will assess the energy needs of Town Hall, the fire station and town garage, the Putney Pool and all of the streetlights in town.
They will also look at all of the buildings associated with the town’s water and wastewater treatment plants.
The Putney Library receives an appropriation, and then pays its electric bill so the town does not directly pay for the electricity, though Stoddard said the library could be included in the project.
Along with finding out how much energy Putney consumes, Stoddard said the committee
The committee will also produce a draft request for proposal which the Selectboard will be asked to approve.
The RFP will then be available for vendors who want to bid on the project.
Hoviss, who is also Chairman of the Putney Energy Committee, said the town only has two potential sites that could support an adequate solar array.
He said the sewer treatment plant and the town garage might both be locations for solar arrays.
Hoviss said he is also going to try to convince the town to reduce its overall energy consumption.
"We should be looking at why we are using so much power," he said. "The cheapest solar system is the one that you don’t have to build,"
Putney is moving over to LED streetlights and he said using motion detectors on town buildings could reduce the energy that is used.
He said the solar array will probably only offset a portion of the town’s energy needs.
He said the economics of funding a project will be a whole other question to consider once the RFP is completed.
"The town is limited in what it can do, but it is exciting," Hoviss said. "We need to show that it is a reasonable investment, and if we can do this it could be model for other towns across the state that are looking at this."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-254-2311 ext. 279.