Solar Energy Project Expected To Save Town $130,000 Annually

Published January 05, 2012
By Michael Walsh, Special to the Courant, The Hartford Courant

VERNON — A solar energy project that will provide electricity for the town's waste treatment facility is expected to save the town roughly $130,000 a year on its utility bill, according to Mayor George Apel.

The town has a 20-year contract with Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC of Middletown, which will build a solar power facility on property it plans to lease at 713 Talcottville Road. The property, which is near the waste treatment facility, is owned by Scranton Motors, Apel said.

The town council approved a bid waiver at a special meeting Dec. 23 to allow the mayor to enter an agreement with Greenskies, which is doing business locally as GRE-Vernon LLC.

Greenskies President Michael Silvestrini has said the company will finance the construction of the facility, which is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2012.

Silvestrini said the town's agreement with Greenskies is an example of the state's new commitment to offering tax credits and other incentives for renewable energy plans. Last spring, the General Assembly and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy agreed on new incentives for owners of houses, commercial buildings or vacant land to install solar panels.

"We don't need to use any lines from [Connecticut Light & Power] to get the power" to the waste treatment facility, Apel said. "It's very much in line with developing alternate energy sources and becoming less dependent on oil and coal."

According to Apel, the town should begin to see savings in the first year of the solar energy facility's operation.

"I'm looking forward to it. It's exciting," he sad. "It puts us stepping out in front of a lot of other areas. There are other towns that are doing even more than this, but it's our first big adventure into alternate energy."