Standard Solar Inc. will design and install a 3.6-MW solar system for the Town of Stafford, Conn., that will feature three arrays.
Two of them will be located at Stafford Middle School (1.3 MW each) and a 954-kW array will be located at the town’s landfill. Comprised of 11,780 panels, the virtual net-metered system will offset all of the school’s electrical usage and most of the town’s other municipal buildings, Standard Solar said in a March 9 statement.
The Town of Stafford is taking an innovative financing approach to this project by foregoing traditional financing solutions such as a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), and instead securing a Tax Exempt Lease Purchase (TELP) which will enable it to purchase and own the system outright. Utilizing this method, the town will not take advantage of the tax credit, or depreciation; however, new Virtual Net Metering policies in the state of Connecticut, a long term ZREC (Zero Emission Energy Credit) contract, and high cost of electricity make ownership advantageous for the town.
“The Town has recognized the value of energy independence and formulated a plan to get the Town to a net zero energy goal. Over the years we have been implementing this plan and are finally seeing it realized. This large 3.6 MW solar system, along with our geothermal project, was the last part of that vision,” said Town First Selectman Richard Shuck. “While we looked at financing through a PPA, we analyzed various financing options and decided that it was in the Town’s best interest to own the system rather than paying a third party for the power and the financing. In November, a town meeting was held and the tax payers overwhelmingly voted yes to proceed with this project. I believe the Town should feel very accomplished as we have taken our energy cost destiny into our own hands.”
With an expected annual output of more than 4.6 million kilowatt hours per year, the new solar system is projected to save the town $4,316,126 over 15 years and $12,270,830 over 25 years. This project complements the town’s other energy savings efforts, including the installation of a high efficiency geothermal heat pump system which will replace oil-burning boilers in the four largest buildings in town.
“More and more, municipalities are embracing the power and savings of solar. The Town of Stafford, Conn. is demonstrating extraordinary leadership with its overall sustainability efforts and innovative approach to financing its new solar project,” said Tony Clifford, the CEO of Standard Solar.
This project is txpected to break ground in April and be complete in early 2016. Standard Solar was selected through a competitive Request for Proposal process led by the Town’s Energy Advisory Committee.
Standard Solar sasid it is a leader in the full-service development, construction, integration, financing and installation of solar electric systems. Since 2004, Standard Solar has been developing solar projects to creatively solve the energy needs of commercial, industrial, educational, government, utility and other clients. Standard Solar operates nationally and is headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.