Middletown, solar provider ink deal that will save city $14,000 annually

By Luther Turmelle
The Middletown Press

MIDDLETOWN >> The city has signed an agreement with a renewable energy company that will help cut Middletown’s electric bills by $14,000 annually.

Terms of the deal with Greenskies Renewable Energy were not released. But the Middletown-based company’s deal with the city calls for Greenskies to build a 217-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system on a municipally-owned piece of land next to the Higby/Bacon Water Treatment Plant.

In addition, Greensikes will maintain and operate the 714-panel solar array and sell electricity produced by the facility back to the city at a deeply discounted rate.

Middletown Energy Coordinator Michael Harris said in addition to the cost savings the solar array will bring for the city, the facility will also take some 531 pounds of carbon dioxide, 109 pounds of nitrogen oxide and 27 pounds of sulfuric oxide emissions out of the air each year.

Construction of the solar array is expected to begin later this spring with the facility becoming operational by the end of summer, according to Greenskies officials.

Marc Silvestrini. a Greenskies spokesman, said providing municipal governments and school systems with solar systems “is one of our real strengths.”

Late last month, Greenskies announced it had struck a deal with the New York Power Authority to be the approved solar contractor for school districts in the northern and central parts of the state as well as Long Island.

Joel Gordes, a West Hartford-based energy consultant, said deals like the one reached between Greenskies and Middletown, known as purchase power agreements, are becoming increasingly popular for municipalities and other large users of electricity.

“Locking in a discounted electric price seems like a good deal in the short term,” Gordes said. “But whether it remains such a good deal going forward is a tough question to answer, especially if electric prices go down.”

Silvestrini said the deal with Greenskies and the city has a fixed rate and stipulates that the price of the electricity the company is selling back to the city is a certain percentage lower than what large power customers pay the state’s utilities.