By TAYLOR HARTZ
The Town Council voted on Monday, Nov. 23 to take the next step in continuing the “solarization plan” for the town.
The council approved a Power Purchase Agreement with Greenskies Renewable Energy, LLC, in Middletown, to provide solar power supplies for Kennedy Middle School and DePaolo Middle School.
The agreement is the same as plans previously made with Greenskies for Plantsville Elementary School and South End Elementary School. Greenskies will install solar panel arrays on the roofs of the middle schools, with the town agreeing to purchase the energy generated by the arrays for 20 years.
Town Manager Garry Brumback said the town is hopeful that the design will provide about 80 percent of the electricity requirements for each school, reducing the energy bill by 35 to 40 percent.
The arrays for Kennedy and DePaolo have not yet been engineered, so the precise amount of savings is not yet known, said Brumback.
At the meeting, Town Councilor John Barry questioned whether long-term savings could be determined, and if costs could be predicted. Barry said that the 20 year contract “really ties the hands of the town.”
Brumback responded that real savings will be seen in transportation and distribution costs for energy supply.
“That’s where the true savings are and what makes this worthwhile,” said Brumback
The agreement passed as presented in a 7-1 vote, with Barry opposed and Councilor Tom Lombardi recusing himself from the vote.
“It continues to be a very positive thing for our schools, and it is also positive environmentally,” said Brumback, who hopes the new arrays will be built over next summer break.
“Ultimately our goal is to get all of the town buildings with some sort of renewable energy sources,” said Brumback.