PUTNEY -- The town's energy coordinator is trying to get the Selectboard to make a decision about a proposed solar power project before winter weather hampers construction and federal and state tax incentives expire.
The Selectboard heard from three different local solar power developers at the board's July 24 meeting and the proposals are being looked at more closely so the board can make the best decision for the town.
At this week's Selectboard meeting Putney Energy Coordinator Daniel Hoviss asked the board to commit to one of the developers soon.
"I am not leaning one way or the other but we need to decide sooner than later," Hoviss told the board Wednesday. "The incentives could go away and the window to build this year is closing."
Putney put out a request for proposal for a large scale solar energy project that would provide up to 260 mega watt hours of power which would cover all of the town's electricity needs.
The town is looking to enter into a 10-to-25-year solar lease with the developer for all of the power output of the proposed system.
Three RFPs were received before the July 15 deadline.
At the July 24 meeting the Selectboard heard from representatives from Sunfarm, Soveren and Integrated Solar.
Each representative talked with the Selectboard about their company's proposal.
Since the July 24 meeting Nick Ziter, who is developing Sunfarm, a community solar power project in Putney, said the power his project will create was largely called for, and Selectboard Chairman Josh Laughlin said that proposal was likely not going to be considered moving forward.
The proposals between Integrated Solar and Soveren were somewhat similar, in that the companies would develop the projects on land that is not owned by the town and the town would not own the equipment.
The town would have an option to purchase the equipment after a period of time.
Integrated Solar has a large-scale solar project under way in Westminster which Putney could become a part of and Soveren said it would be seeking investors for the Putney project and then looking for land in the GMP area to build the project.
There was some confusion at the July 24 meeting over whether the town would be able to generate credit from Green Mountain Power if the project creates more electricity than the town uses.
There also were differences in how the power could be sold to the town and at the July and August meetings the Selectboard members said they were looking for more details before making a decision.
Laughlin said Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard was trying to prepare the information for the Selectboard members so they could choose the best option for the town.
"It is not worth it for us to rush into this," Laughlin said Wednesday. "Both proposals were similar and we want to be sure we are comparing apples to apples when we make the decision."
At the July 24 meeting both companies said it would be helpful to get an answer soon to start construction and ensure that the project is done by the end of the year when the tax incentives might expire.
Hoviss reminded the board that the town would be saving money as soon as the photovoltaic panels were producing energy.
"The people support this project," he said. "Vermont is one of the few states that allow third party power purchases and we should take advantage of it."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.