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Solar installations include a 2.0 MW array behind the middle school, which will meet 60% of the town’s electrical needs; an 848 KW array on the town landfill, which will meet 20% of the town’s needs; and another 1.5 MW spread among 10 town buildings. Stafford is benefiting from the Connecticut’s virtual net metering program, which allows the output of the large arrays to be credited against the accounts of a number of town buildings in other locations.

The town took a different approach than most in paying for all this work. Most towns have opted for power purchase agreements (PPA), whereby a solar company builds, operates, and maintains the solar array and is paid over a 15 or 20-year period based on the output of the system. Stafford chose to own its solar and geothermal systems, taking out a $17 million loan to pay for much of it. They employed a tax-exempt lease purchase to take advantage of the benefits of ownership, which allowed them “to eliminate the overhead of a third party developer” and receive payments directly through the state’s ZREC (zero-emissions renewable energy credits) program.

Stafford began its foray into clean energy by first looking at energy efficiency. According to one member of the Stafford Energy Advisory Committee, the town “...did a comprehensive town-wide energy audit of all municipal buildings, and entered into an Energy Savings Performance Contract with Honeywell in 2012. The $1.6 million project resulted in more than $150,000 annual energy savings since being completed. This represents about a 24% savings as confirmed by a recently completed energy benchmarking project with Eversource.”

To accomplish all this, it required town officials who were supportive of the town’s Energy Advisory Committee. The committee was composed of town residents who had solar, geothermal, or both at their own homes and included people with backgrounds in engineering and finance. Town officials, including the town engineer, were supportive of the ambitious program and the decision to own the system.

The same committee member advised that, “Any town energy task force should start with small projects as we did. It was important to prove to the town leaders and various town committees and commissions that the projects are financially viable to gain their trust to do other larger, more expensive projects. Extensive research to find grants and financial incentives is crucial to make these projects financially viable. Any town task force considering projects of the size and scope of the projects we undertook must be very persistent and well prepared, as you will run into skeptics who don’t believe solar works in Connecticut, or that geothermal is too expensive”.

Stafford

 

Population

12,192 (2010)

Energy Efficiency

Entered into a performance contract with Honeywell for about $1.6 million worth of work, resulting in a 24% decline in energy used.

Renewable energy project(s)

Solar PV and/or hot water on town fire dept, library, community center and 3 schools. 2.0 MW solar array (60% of town’s use) next to middle school and 848 KW array (20% of town’s use) on landfill, plus another 1.5 MW spread over 10 municipal buildings .

Own or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

Owned. Town took out $17 million loan for large solar arrays and geothermal. For other projects, used performance contracts.

If PPA, price per kWh

NA

Virtual net metering (VNM)

Yes

●      Beneficial accounts

?

●      Income from VNM

?

Geothermal or Heat Pumps

Yes, to heat and cool 3 schools and town library.

Solar carport(s)

Yes, one at town hall and the other behind the middle school

% Municipal Electricity from Renewables

Between 90-100%

Annual or cumulative savings

Expect to save about $8.7 million over 15 years, $24 million over 25 years.

Solar contractor(s)

Standard Solar, Inc., Encon

For more information

Gary Fisher, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Links:

Stafford Solar and Geothermal Presentations (2014)

Connecticut Town Opts For Novel Finance Plan To Build 3.6 MW Municipal Project

Standard Solar Completes 3.4 MW For Town Of Stafford

Stafford eyes energy-saving plan

 

Peter Millman, March 2017

 

Resources

 

Community Updates

WOODSTOCK’S NEW 1MW SOLAR ARRAY
PROJECTED TO SAVE OVER 2.4 MILLION OVER THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS

Woodstock is currently in the process of installing their 1MW solar array.  The array will be a brownfield installation covering, what once was, their former landfill.  Concrete ballasts will weigh down the panel's framework to prevent any breach of the landfill's membrane... See Press Release

HES COPAY PRICE INCREASE

In the recent approval of the 2016-18 Conservation and Load Management (CL&M) Plan by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), there is good news and not-so-good news... Read More

 

 

Calendar Highlights

FALL GATHERING

HIGHLIGHTS OF CT’s FALL GATHERING of clean energy task forces can be found here in our Knowledge Center’s Program Archives pages. Diane Duva (the Director of Energy Demand at DEEP’s Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy is pictured here) facilitating the shaping of our state’s energy future.

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Clean Energy Communities Listening Session Letter of Thanks and Follow-up

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