Thursday May 18, 2017
The City of South Burlington will soon celebrate the groundbreaking of the long anticipated landfill solar project. At an early May city council meeting, Deputy City Manager Tom Hubbard announced that the project is slated to begin in late May or early June and will hopefully be completed by the end of October. The groundbreaking will mark the beginning of a project that will save money for the city, school district, and taxpayers, all while contributing to environmental sustainability.
The 6500 solar panels positioned in approximately 300 racks will be installed on the 8-acre capped landfill located at the end of Airport Parkway. The project will be approximately 2.2 MWdc (1.5 MWac) of solar. The landfill, which has been capped for 25 years, will now have renewed life thanks to this project. The city hired Encore Renewable Energy to facilitate the net metering purchase agreement with the project’s owner, Altus Power America and in October of 2016, the city was awarded a Certificate of Public Good from the Public Service Board for the project, officially marking the go ahead for the solar installation.
The energy generated by the solar will be sold to the city’s power provider, Green Mountain Power, after which the city will receive credits on electric bills for specific meters at municipal and school district facilities. Hubbard said that revenue to the city for the first 10 years will be roughly $81,000 per year and $62,000 per year to the school district. The decrease in revenue in 10 years is approximately 75 percent, with less decrease if the cost of electricity rises, and more decrease if the cost decreases. It is anticipated the city will receive $8-$9,000 per month beginning in November if the project is complete.
In addition, at the May 1 meeting, Hubbard reported that because there has been a delay in the start of the project, the city has received $20,000 ($8,000 of which will go to the school district since their agreement for the project was a 60/40 split in credits). With this money and additional revenue, the city is proposing the establishment of a special fund, “to be used for electrical infrastructure upgrades and improvements, as well as energy savings initiatives, all of which will save the taxpayer money that would otherwise have to be raised as part of the General Fund to support these types of projects through the Capital Improvement Plan,” Hubbard said.
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent