Dover solar project moves forward
DOVER -- After the School Board approached the Selectboard with two companies' proposals for a potential solar array behind Dover School, the town generally agreed to continue moving forward.
"I don't see any no's," Selectboard Chairman Randy Terk said looking at other board members for objections to the project.
On Tuesday, School Board member Chip Vicary presented the numbers at a joint meeting between the two boards. Both companies bid with plans for installing a 500 kilowatt solar array.
"A number of years ago, the Dover School purchased the land behind the school," Vicary said. "Basically, we got enough space up there on top of the hill facing southwest, which makes it an ideal solar array location."
Either the town or the school would lease out that unused land. Between lease payments and net metering credits to be received on various electric bills, Vicary said it could add up to $28,000 annually.
The net metering credits was where the bids differed. Green Lantern Capital was offering 10 percent of the net metering credits back while NextSun Energy offered 15 percent.
In all outcomes, which Vicary presented in a spreadsheet, NextSun's proposal looked better due to that percentage.
"The school itself does not have a high enough electric bill to use up all of these net metering credits over the course of a year," said Vicary. "But, I think, when you start bringing in the Town Offices, the police and fire departments and other town-owned buildings, obviously there's enough net metering credits there that I think there'd be some benefit to the town."
School Board Chairman Rich Werner mentioned that solar panels were improving all the time. And a warranty was included in each proposal that would be good for 20 to 25 years.
There would be an option to buy the solar array once the lease was up. But it would not be required.
Selectboard Vice Chairwoman Victoria Capitani asked if the School Board was unanimously behind the project.
"We're unanimously coming to you with this," Werner replied.
The next step, he said, would be to choose one of the companies then invite groups potentially interested in taking advantage of the net metering credits.
Vicary pointed out a certificate of public good with Green Mountain Power would be required so that the panels could be connected to the electric grid.
"All you have to do is take a ride from here to Rutland and it's just amazing, assuming that all these solar arrays that are installed all over the place are a result of similar arrangements," Terk said.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or email@example.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.
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