ANDOVER, MASS., Oct. 29, 2015, (THE ANDOVER TOWNSMAN)-- "The town continues to look to the sun to power day-to-day operations, with the latest example coming Monday when selectmen approved buying 25 percent more solar power from a planned array in Western Massachusetts.
The agreement, which amends an earlier one, is expected to save the town an additional $2 million over 20 years, with total savings estimated at $6.2 million over two decades.
"I think Andover's efforts are at the forefront of the solar initiative in introducing solar to the community as a viable power source," Selectmen Chairman Mary O'Donoghue said.
Last summer, the board agreed to buy about 4 million kilowatt hours, or kWh, of solar power from Syncarpha Capital of New York. The energy is to be generated from 30 acres of solar panels on a capped landfill in Palmer, Mass.
But Monday’s amendment to the agreement increases the power purchase to 6.2 million kilowatt hours. This equals a savings of about $300,000 a year or $6 million over 20 years, said the town’s energy consultant, Chad Laurent of Meister Consultants Group.
The lingering question weighing on local officials’ minds has been whether the Palmer plant would get built.
This is because of the state’s cap on “net-metering credits” — which mandates how much power National Grid and other utilities must buy from solar companies. Earlier in 2015, the cap for municipal contracts was reached.
The net metering cap must be raised to accommodate additional power from the solar plant at Palmer.
Indications are, however, that state lawmakers plan to raise the cap, thereby allowing towns that have pending agreements to buy discounted solar energy to seal their deals."