Two solar energy projects—one shot down by school committee members Thursday and another seen dead because of the developer’s bankruptcy filing—may be salvageable, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said Friday.
Fiorentini told WHAV the sizes and advantages of the projects planned for the roof of Haverhill High School and the city’s Old Groveland Road Landfill, will keep both the city and developers interested. The mayor said he is not sure if the projects will be spearheaded by the currently designated developers or be completed in time to take advantage of state financial incentives that expire next January.
School Committee members Scott W. Wood Jr., Shaun P. Toohey and Maura L. Ryan-Ciardiello Thursday night voted against allowing installation of 2.2 megawatt solar project at Haverhill High and authorizing the administration to complete agreements with MassAmerican Energy. Members Paul A. Magliocchetti, Gail M. Sullivan and Fiorentini voted in favor—resulting in a tie vote. Committeeman Sven A. Amirian, who works for MassAmerican Energy of Marlborough, left the room and did not participate because of conflict of interest concerns.
SunEdison of Maryland Heights, Mo., proposed a 2.1 megawatt project for the landfill, but its future has been clouded by the company’s April bankruptcy filing.
Fiorentini said concerns about the financial viability of solar companies are valid and the reason he was also skeptical of solar projects until recently. However, he sees little risk to the city from moving ahead with the two proposals. MassAmerican Energy would have paid upfront for replacement of the high school roof and was willing to post an insurance bond to ensure solar panels would be removed in the event of the company’s demise.
City Council Vice President Melinda E. Barrett has added discussion of the high school project to Tuesday night’s city council agenda.