Landfill Solar Runner Up Considers Future of Project

The city’s Old Groveland Road Landfill.

The bankruptcy of Missouri-based SunEdison has ended for now plans to construct a solar farm at city’s former Old Groveland Road landfill. However, the runner-up in the city’s bid process is taking a second look at completing the development.

Marlborough-based MassAmerican Energy, which has been named developer of two other city solar arrays, remains interested, A. Quincy Vale, manager, told WHAV today.

“Were interested in pursuing it, but haven’t had a chance to see what (the bankruptcy) means. I don’t know if we have to buy it through the bankruptcy court process. I’m not sure if it is back in the city’s ownership and control,” Vale said.

Haverhill Purchasing Agent and Energy Manager Orlando Pacheco said the biggest problem, however, is there is not enough time for any developer to complete the project before state financial incentives expire next January. The city won’t rebid the project the until the future of those state financial incentives is known, he said.

“I think at this point the agreement with SunEdison is voided because their response to the original RFP was contingent upon (Solar Renewable Energy Certificate) SREC Two. So we would have to rebid the project at a later date. I think the site is obviously viable because it is a brownfield site. It has, from a solar standpoint, more value. But I think we want to make sure we have a clear understanding of what the future SREC market and the future net metering market is going to be before we rebid that,” Pacheco said.

MassAmerican Energy has already been awarded competitively bid contracts for roofs at Haverhill High School and Haverhill Police Station. In those cases, the cost of solar arrays would be borne by MassAmerican and its financiers and investors, and paid back over 10 to 20 years by the city’s purchase of electricity, Vale explained.

Haverhill City Councilors Colin F. LePage and Melinda E. Barrett called attention to the bankruptcy by placing an item on tomorrow night’s city council agenda. LePage said he became aware of SunEdison’s bankruptcy while reading financial publications. A year ago, councilors voted 8-1 to allow the city to enter a net metering agreement with the solar power operator. The project was expected then to be completed by September of this year.

“Landfill solar projects, in particular, take an incredibly long time to develop. A lot of that has to do with the fact they’re normally brownfield sites and they require additional environmental permitting on top of just your standard municipal permitting. So in many case it takes a couple years to get a solar project built and SunEdison just doesn’t have the time,” Pacheco said.

SunEdison Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection in April after reporting debts of $16.1 billion in a New York City court. It has already reached a deal to sell some of its development rights in Maine’s King Pine wind project for about $26.5 million. It was unclear at deadline whether the company would seek to keep its Haverhill bid award as a saleable asset during the bankruptcy project.

5 thoughts on “Landfill Solar Runner Up Considers Future of Project

  1. Posted that this is Sven Amirians company and the city council is padding his pockets and whav is trying to now stopped the opinions of residents.

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