City Councilors Delay Groveland Road Landfill Solar Project Decision

(File photograph.)

Concerns over visual aesthetics and financial benefit is delaying a final decision by the Haverhill City Council on a proposed solar energy farm on a portion of the former Bradford landfill.

Councilors voted unanimously to delay a request from Purchasing Agent and Energy Manager Orlando Pacheco for at least two weeks to allow the city to enter into a net metering agreement with solar energy operator SunEdison. Councilor William H. Ryan suggested planting trees on the hill where the former landfill is situated. He said residents in the Riverside section would be among those impacted by “visual pollution.”

“When it’s built out, there may be a lot of very unhappy people when they look up and see what’s built there. I know when you’re up on many of the new areas being built, Seven Sisters Road—all up through there, they’re paying huge money for those homes to look out over toward the farm area and the hills of Bradford. They’re going to be looking at a very substantial solar farm,” Ryan said.

Councilor Colin LePage questioned Pacheco on conditions from an earlier request for proposals (RFP) and whether a net metering cap would be lifted in connection with his predicted net savings of $6.1 million over 20 years, in addition to negotiated lease and pilot payments.

LePage: “I think, from the first time, it may be up to $12 million worth of saving over 20 years.”

Pacheco: “Yes, I think from some of the scenarios that were proposed in the RFP. But what’s been awarded was substantially different. We allow developers to be a little bit innovative with the site, but ultimately it’s what the city can accommodate.

The proposed power purchase agreement with SunEdison is 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 Pacheco.

5 thoughts on “City Councilors Delay Groveland Road Landfill Solar Project Decision

  1. “Visual pollution” can be used for a lot of things in the city……trash, old dilapidated vacant buildings, old firetrucksand stations, and yes, Ryan himself. I am concerned about the subsidies if any, and whether the project is viable if said subsidies go away. On a positive note, electric rates are set to skyrocket so Haverhill may be in a good position to profit with this.

  2. Concerns over visual aesthetics…….. Hey Guys and Gals, time to sit upright and pay attention. This is a capped dump! If it can be put to real use and reduce energy costs, then DO IT! Why all the drama???