Solar power arrays coming to city properties in Middletown’s North End

Published May, 8 2014
By Alex Green, The Middletown Press

MIDDLETOWN - A local solar power company is looking to add two more solar arrays to its city catalog.

GreenSkies Renewable Energy met with the Economic Development Commission Wednesday to outline proposals for solar arrays at the transfer station on Johnson Street and a plot of land on Berlin Street adjacent to the water department building.

Both properties are owned by the city. The utility would build the arrays on its own dime, and the city would commit to buying the power the arrays produce for the next 20 years. GreenSkies’ projections indicate the city would pay a substantially lower rate for the solar power than it would to a traditional utility company.

GreenSkies is already finishing construction on one array on the roof of Remington Rand in the North End which will power that building, and the city has agreed to buy power from another array at the Higby Reservoir.

The EDC voted to recommend to the city council to allow the mayor to sign a contract. That’s expect to take place at the council’s June meeting.

Andrew Chester, a senior vice president for GreenSkies, told EDC that the company would begin selling power to the city at nine cents per kilowatt hour, well under the 16.8 cents per kilowatt hour the city pays Connecticut Light & Power. The rate will increase incrementally each year should remain much lower than traditional utility rates.

The Berlin Street plot is the same piece of land where Animal Control Officer Gail Petras has proposed building a city animal shelter, although Mayor Dan Drew said that proposal “is still in very formative stages.” Chester indicated that the layout for that array was flexible.

GreenSkies is participating in the state’s Zero-Emission Renewable Energy Credit auction process, designed to promote alternative energy projects throughout the state. The subsidies offset the cost of power purchased by cities and is administered by CL&P.