Solar park proposed for North Haven landfill site

Published October 30, 2013
By Michael Bellmore, New Haven Register

NORTH HAVEN - Plans are under way to take unused land and cultivate it for the town’s benefit.

A proposed solar park is headed to North Haven’s landfill on Universal Drive. It’s wasteland, it’s out of the way, and solar panels can be built on the kind of land that holds trash underneath it.

According to Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC’s proposal for the project, the plan is for North Haven to buy into a solar power purchase agreement. This means, in short, that Greenskies would own and maintain the solar panels, while the town would purchase the power created by the panels at a lower rate than otherwise available.

“The solar project described here will be one of the largest in New England and will provide the town with a way to save on its electricity costs by transforming an otherwise dormant capped landfill into a symbol of ingenuity and economic developement,” wrote Michael Silvestrini, president of Greenskies.

Freda said the first step of this proposed solar farm is to build solar panels capable of creating one-third of a megawatt of power in a day. He said that power will be used to offset the power costs of town buildings. Future phases of the construction would add enough solar panels capable of creating one megawatt of power, with a possible maximum of nine megawatts down the road.

Freda said, over 16 years, the one megawatt system will save the town an average $100,000 per year.

“Solar is a top initiative of this government right now. The construction of this solar panel field has no expense to the town,” Freda said.

“Other than committing to buying the power, the contractor will be handling all the capital expenditures.”

Freda said the hope is to take the power created, work with United Illuminating, and identify large users of energy in the town. Freda said one example of a large energy user would be the Water Pollution Control Authority.

“Through the developement of this solar field, if we could help save money at energy costs at one of the largest facilities, that would be our first intention,” Freda said.

As far as the whole of green energy, Freda said solar is a more tangible way for the town to save money than windmills or hydro-electric power. Freda said, in the long term, a nine-megawatt solar farm, while an ambitious goal, would be ideal in the future.

He said the energy produced would be the equivalent of powering about 3,000 homes. Again, though, the goal, Freda said, would be to diminish town electric costs. Nine megawatts could power, in theory, about 50 percent of the town’s energy needs.

“But that’s a long-term goal,” Freda said.

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