Cavendish considers solar power
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | April 11,2013
CAVENDISH — Another town in the Okemo Valley is considering a solar power project.
Cavendish Town Manager Richard Svec said at Monday’s Select Board meeting that the town is meeting with potential developers this week to build a small-scale solar farm facility in the town of Cavendish. According to Svec, developers have expressed interest in providing solar power to the town and they have until the end of the year to access federal tax incentives and rebates for solar power development.
“We’re just looking into possibilities at this point and to see if they make fiscal sense. There will need to be more in-depth exploration and more presentations before we make any decision,” Svec said.
The town is considering two sites for the solar farm on town land. The first location is on Power Plant Road, below the sewer plant and transfer station, and the second is on town land near the former Duttonsville School location.
Svec said the Power Plant Road location is ideal because it is on a south-facing slope. The second location is also ideal for capturing the sun but is less accessible to the grid.
In nearby Chester, a private landowner is considering a 2.2 MW solar farm at Trebo Road and Route 103. Abutting landowners raised concerns over the proposed solar farm’s aesthetics in proximity to their properties but Svec said the Cavendish project should not have the same concerns as the one in Chester.
“The solar panels would be facing undeveloped land. We hope that some of the aesthetic issues will not be an issue with ours,” Svec said.
The town will also need to set up a net-metering system with the developer. According to the Public Service Board website, net-metering is measuring the difference between the electricity supplied to a customer and the electricity fed back by a net metering system during the customer’s billing period. The developers receive credit for the electricity produced and the town would lease the land back to the developer for a period of up to 10 years, Svec said.
Peter LaBelle of the Cavendish Energy Committee said the town has looked at small-scale solar projects in years past but sprang to action as soon as they learned that incentives were available.
If the town were to pursue a solar farm project, it would be below 500 KW of electricity.
Due to the small scope in size, the developer will not need a Section 248 permit, which larger-scale solar projects must obtain, but a certificate of public good from the Public Service Board.
“We could build something much better and sell off power but we’re not interested in doing that. We just want our own needs met,” LaBelle said.