NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 19, 2013

Town wins state grant to aid solar project

WEST NEWBURY — Finance director Warren G. Sproul announced on Wednesday that the town has received a $12,500 grant from the Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). The funding will be used to employ an owner’s technical agent to assist in the development of a large-scale, ground mounded photovoltaic system on town-owned land adjacent to the John C. Page Elementary School.

At the Annual Town Meeting last spring, voters agreed to designate a portion of this property as a solar overlay district. It comprises approximately 3.82 acres of land with 2.0 acres available for the solar array. It is estimated that this project will produce between 500 kWh to 750 kWh.

Owner’s agents are independent third parties who aid municipalities in the negotiations, development and management of energy projects. In this case, the owner’s agent will assist in negotiating a power purchasing agreement or a net metering agreement with a solar development firm. The agreement should result in reduced energy costs for the town without the expenditure of any taxpayer funds.

On Jan. 30 the Board of Selectmen voted to authorize the application for the grant. Spearheaded by Rick Parker of the Energy Advisory Committee, the grant application was drafted by town counsel Michael P. McCarron. Patrick Higgins provided a plan detailing the site assessment for the proposed ground mounted solar PV project.

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