City Could Buy Old Landfill Solar Power By Next Year

(File photograph.)

The Haverhill city council is being asked to approve an agreement to purchase power from a proposed solar array on a capped portion of the former Bradford landfill.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini has recommended councilors pass an order Tuesday night allowing the city to enter a power purchase agreement with SunEdison as part of a plan to construct a nearly 2,136 killowatt solar energy array on the Groveland Road site. The agreement, a financial component to a request for proposal (RFP) by the city, which “calls for the city to purchase net metering credits, currently valued at 18.5 cents per kilowatt hour (KWH), for eight cents per KWH, this resulting in a net benefit to the city of 10.5 cents per KWH,” according to Orlando Pacheco, Purchasing Director and Energy Manager.

“The price for the city will increase one percent per year over the 20-year life of the agreement. Given the value of NMC should rise beyond the one percent over that same 20-year period, the city is in a favorable position on this transaction,” Pacheco said. “The Energy Taskforce has also endorsed the proposal because of the long term savings and positive adaptive re-use it brings to the landfill.”

WHAV first reported the landfill solar project last Dec. 23 when bids were received.

The facility would generate up to an estimated annual net metering output of 2.8 million KWH in the first year of operation and downward to 2.6 million KWH by the 20th year.

A “special conditions” provision calls for SunEdison to construct, own, operate and maintain a solar energy system qualifying as a net metering facility. Construction would begin 300 days after approval and be in operation by September, 2016. Among other things, the company would also spend up to $5,000 to help the city in “designing and installing a kiosk for educational purposes.” However, at the city’s request, technicians would be available, at their “standard hourly rates, to answer questions or otherwise facilitate (purchaser’s) educational efforts.”

Under the agreement, SunEdison would obtain on behalf of the city, at their expense, a post-closure use permit for the former landfill from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The permit “may impose certain conditions and requirements on purchaser which are related to the provider’s use of the premises and/or the installation, construction and/or operation of the system and which would not have been imposed on purchaser were it not for this agreement; and that provider shall be responsible for those conditions and requirements.”

The Haverhill city council meets at 7 p.m., Tuesday, in council chambers at Haverhill City Hall.