The Waste water Treatment Plant was the site this morning of a three hour presentation on solar photovoltaicic installations for the town, organized the by WWTP’s new head operator, Bob McDonald. There were three presentations, giving the perspectives of doing it yourself, having a turnkey installation by a professional engineering company, and from a DEP expert. In attendance were the Energy Committee, the Board of Selectmen as it will be constituted after the election on Monday, town Administrator Mike Sullivan,Ken Feeney, and several interested people.
It was a truly high quality, in depth examination of the options and how the town can best get get it done, with informative handouts. This participant regarded it as time really well spent to get the town to its first solar PV installation. The MEC will examine the options at its Tuesday evening meeting.
Mike Sullivan wants the town’s first solar PV site to be on the land just behind the WWTP. That site was a bee hive of DPW activity this morning as they were working with large earth moving equipment and dump trucks to clear and level that site so that it can be the temporary town garage site if the new DPW garage is voted in, as it has to be, by the town at both the town meeting on 4/29 and the election on 4/30.
The first PV presenter was a Dept. of Corporation employee and Norfolk resident, who overseeing the many PV installations owned by the DOC. He talked about the model where one pays for the system oneself, and reaps a higher ROI. Sounded like minimal oversight is needed, but it would be important to have someone like him to do the small things that do need to be done.
The package system is achieved by means of a power purchase agreement, where the town puts out an RFP, and merely signs up with a provider, who then provides the soups to nuts. In exchange the town’s rate of return is less than if it buys the system on its own.
The DEP employee provided a handout that walked us through the options and issues, and related the issues to watch for.
PV panels are still dropping a lot in price, however, the state initiative may be running out soon. If we proceed with DPW garage, the site will not be available for at least a year, so PV at that site cannot happen until the DPW vacates the site.
Alternatives discussed included lowhead hydro on the outflow of the WWTP and even inside the pipes of the water distribution system, as well as solar hot water.
Lots to follow up on. Big savings are available to the town if it proceeds. The Dartmouth town administrator told the MEC at a meeting a couple of months ago that they are saving $700,000 in electric charges from seven PV sites and similar sorts numbers were quoted this AM. Medfield needs to move as soon as possible to make PV happen, to get in on the savings.
After the meeting, Bob McDonald gave us a tour of the WWTP. The WWTP continues to amaze me as quite the complex operation. The painting and clean up at the WWTP that Bob has done looked good.