Sturbridge selectmen endorse money-saving solar deal
Source: Craig S. Semon, telegram.com
– Selectmen last night weighed in on the pros and cons of getting into a solar power contract that could save the town anywhere between $3 million and $4 million over the life of a 20-year contract.
BlueWave Capital representatives told selectmen the agreement will supply solar-generated electricity to Sturbridge and thereby cut the town’s electricity costs by nearly 40 percent in the first year of operation (or approximately $130,000). In addition, Sturbridge can expect “substantial property revenue” in the sum of $24,000 yearly and $480,000 over the life of the contract, as well as 30 to 50 jobs during construction, according to BlueWave’s managing partner, John P. DeVillars.
Over the past year, working with the town’s energy committee and town administrator, BlueWave carefully evaluated many sites within the town landfill, but the interconnection costs would be too steep, Mr. DeVillars said.
BlueWave has secured a site behind the Center at Hobbs Brook (specifically, behind iParty), which is owned by the state Department of Transportation and is suitable from both a technical and financing perspective, Mr. DeVillars said.
The site will provide approximately half of the town’s electricity needs, he said.
BlueWave is also developing a solar project in Palmer that will provide the remainder of the town’s electricity needs and savings. Both sites are scheduled to be commissioned in the fall, Mr. DeVillars said.
Furthermore, Sturbridge can get 90 percent of its electricity from clean, renewable energy, he said.
After three hours of discussion, the selectmen, in a 4-0-1 vote, endorsed the town reaching an agreement with BlueWave. However, town voters will have the final say at the annual town meeting on Monday.