NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – The Solar Energy Advisory Committee has a better understanding today of net metering and may be closer to supporting the town’s purchase of power from a solar energy farm proposed by Con Edison.
Joseph S. Fitzpatrick, representing Con Edison, said the town would receive 100 percent of the net metering credits for the power it purchases which would be a credit on the town’s National Grid account. The numbers change with the market, but today it would be $295,000 based on 11.8 cents per kilowatt hour.
Northbridge would, in turn, pay Con Edison 90 percent of the value of the net metering credits, the town’s 10 percent share reducing its energy bill by about $30,000.
Con Edison is willing to negotiate a higher percentage for the town’s share, however, if the town can tell them soon how much energy it is willing to purchase.
Following a presentation by Fitzpatrick and David Fenton of DG Clean Power, the committee discussed how much power the town would be willing to purchase, the consensus being between 1 and 2 MW, about half the total used by the town and schools.
Con Edison is proposing a 2 MW solar energy farm on a 30-acre parcel on Milford Street. A portion of the property is in Grafton, but the bulk is in Northbridge. Con Edison would invest $5 million to install 10,000 solar panels.
Fitzpatrick said the hope is to have permitting and an interconnector agreement with National Grid in place by June with construction to begin soon after. Construction will take three to four months, he said.
Con Edison recently installed 9,720 solar panels on a 20-acre site near in Uxbridge near its Industrial Park. “It’s one of five we’ve developed,’’ he said, “all pretty similar in scale and development,’’ Fitzpatrick said, and the company recently completed permitting for a similar facility in Douglas.
Between the net metering agreement and a 20-year Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) program, the project would generate $1.5 million over the 20-year period.
Voters at the Spring Annual Town Meeting on May 1 will be asked to authorize the Board of Selectmen to enter into alternative energy or net metering agreements and to approve Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreements.
The next meeting of the Solar Energy Advisory Committee is Thursday, April 5 at 5 p.m.