City Receives Bid for HHS Solar Project; City Costs Rise

MassAmerican Energy, which provided the rooftop sketch above, chose not to bid.

Only one bid has been received to resuscitate the stalled Haverhill High School rooftop solar project and, the city’s energy manager says, it is not as good for the city as one school committee members rejected this summer.

Sunlight General Capital, of New York City, recently proposed selling electricity from its proposed 2.2 megawatt array at 16 cents per kilowatt hour—or about three cents more than a project proposed by MassAmerican Energy of Marlborough. The company would also increase prices 3 percent annually.

“The response was not as beneficial as MassAmerican’s was for the town. I wouldn’t say it was a bad response,” Purchasing Agent and Energy Manager Orlando Pacheco told WHAV today. Pacheco said the bid reflects the changing energy market as state solar energy incentives are gradually reduced.

“Right now solar incentives are declining and volatile. Developers are more cautious about how they price,” Pacheco said.

Neither MassAmerican nor the other seven bidders who made high schools proposals last year submitted proposals.

“There was a lot of concern about the timing—a condensed time frame. Some people have political concerns. No one has actually come out and said and put in writing ‘we’re concerned someone will dig up dirt and throw us out.’ There are a lot of other communities that are safer bets than Haverhill,” Pacheco said.

School Committee members Scott W. Wood Jr., Shaun P. Toohey and Maura L. Ryan-Ciardiello voted in June against allowing installation of MassAmerican’s solar project at Haverhill High and authorizing the administration to complete agreements. 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.

Wood said he opposed MassAmerican Energy of Marlborough, as he did in December, because he believed Amirian, as an elected official, should not financially benefit. Noting MassAmerican had created a separate holding company for the high school project, Toohey questioned what would happen if MassAmerican were to declare bankruptcy. He pointed to Missouri-based SunEdison’s April bankruptcy filing. SunEdison was the developer of a proposed solar array at Haverhill’s former Old Groveland Road landfill.

Proponents argued MassAmerican’s plans will reduce the cost of electricity and give the city a free roof at the high school. Others speculated the two sides of the school committee remain divided over the January vote that allowed Toohey to replace Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua on the school committee after losing reelection last fall. Magliocchetti, Amirian and Sullivan supported former School Committeeman Raymond Sierpina.

Sunlight General Capital did not break out costs for replacing the 17-year-old high school roof. Pacheco said it is not clear whether a full roof replacement is being proposed or merely “reskinning” the roof, as needed. The energy manager said he is in the process of drafting a summary for Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini, who will decide whether to advance the project. “Obviously the mayor is aware there is going to be some discussion about whether to move forward with that proposal or not.”

Pacheco speculated the higher energy price proposed by the developer is intended to cover the cost of roof work. He explained other city solar projects that did not require new roofs came in at the 8 to 10 cent per kilowatt hour range.

6 thoughts on “City Receives Bid for HHS Solar Project; City Costs Rise

  1. They already hired Sven, that was after he left city council and after he left the chamber..
    A lobbyist for his own city and his own company. Politics at its best. If only Paul could’ve got the political hacks he pulled in elected he and Sven could be on a cruise. But only if Gail gave her blessing…

  2. With a split like this, may as well cancel School Committee meetings until next election cycle and not waste everyones time.

    As for Sunlight General Capital, nothing on file with MA SoS, the NY SoS shows their Registered Agent “Revoked”, and their website is about as opaque as a website can get. Had to dig just to find out who the owners are. Yep, looks like a winner.

  3. No one has actually come out and said and put in writing ‘we’re concerned someone will dig up dirt and throw us out.’ There are a lot of other communities that are safer bets than Haverhill,” Pacheco said.

    Can you believe the nerve of this political hack?
    For the past year and a half after getting hired as a political favor (I wonder who mayor taxman owed to bring this guy in?), and after being fired from his last job, this guy has been blatantly lying time after time about the energy savings the city and citizens would receive from programs he has started. And he has the nerve to throw politics as the reason this new proposal is low??? That’s about as sleazy as it gets…….

    • But he is right on this. The companies saw what happened to the company that got the previous bid. Why in the world anyone would do business with this Mayor and some of the elected buffoons ? Do you think these people have their heads in the sand ? Trust me, they read the stories AND the blog posts. They see what the Mayor just did to the other company. I am waiting for the lawsuit to be filed and then the judgment against the city for costs incurred.

      • Jack, he was taking a swipe at the councilors who spoke out publicly about the fact the previous company employing a felon that was around students. The lying hack was taking a cheap shot at those councilors for not approving the previous project so that it could have moved forward.
        The irony of his comments are just too funny to overlook given how he ended up in Haverhill to begin with. If you haven’t done so already Jack, do a Google search for “Orlando Pacheco Lancaster”.