The letter also emphasized that large-scale solar projects are becoming “a new reality,” and that federal and state mandates and incentives have allowed communities throughout the area to lock in favorable prices while driving down energy costs and taking advantage of otherwise unproductive parcels of land.
“It has become clear to many of us that the city has the ability to save several hundred thousand dollars per year through a long-term solar lease agreement, while generating significant property tax revenue for Amesbury,” the letter said. “If we are to pursue a project on city-owned land, these tax benefits increase substantially.”
The councilors said that the potential solar projects could generate revenues that could later be used to pay for necessary municipal improvements, including soccer field expansion activities.
“We need a comprehensive strategy to develop solar projects that will generate strong community support, lock in the most favorable energy prices, all while maximizing the value of our existing city parcels,” the letter said. “Funding technical assistance would be an important first step to realizing this potential.”
Kezer said he is still looking into the matter to see exactly what Amesbury’s current situation looks like, but said he will submit an appropriation request when he has all the information necessary.
“We do intend on going forward with the initiatives on the green energy,” Kezer said.
According to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, Amesbury has over 8 megawatts of potential solar capacity on landfill space alone, the letter said. The councilors also noted that since the city created a new solar overlay district in the spring, the city had seen steady interest from solar developers looking to develop projects within Amesbury.