Solar panels that power Brentwood municipal buildings turned on for first timeBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
September 01. 2017 12:50AM
BRENTWOOD — Under sunny skies, a newly built solar array in a field next to the Brentwood fire station was turned on for the first time Thursday to begin providing enough power to meet the demands of Brentwood’s municipal buildings.
The solar panels that now fill the field began popping up outside the fire station at the corner of Routes 125 and 111A over the past few weeks as part of the town’s effort to save thousands in tax dollars down the road.
“The fact that the system is large enough to cover the entire town of Brentwood’s municipal electric costs is certainly notable,” said James Hasselbeck, operations manager for ReVision Energy, the company that installed the array.
Talk of going solar began at the 2016 town meeting when resident Jane Byrne proposed the idea. Residents weren’t ready to support it at the time, but they wanted to study the feasibility.
After further investigation, the town decided to move ahead with the project this year and signed a 20-year contract with ReVision Energy, which has an office in Brentwood.
Malcolm Allison, a member of the town’s solar committee who also serves on the budget committee, said the town didn’t have to pay for the solar array or its installation.
ReVision Energy will own the array, but the town will have the option to purchase it after six years at a significantly reduced cost.
The array is expected to generate 160,000 kilowatts of electricity annually. The solar power will feed back into the grid to offset the town’s annual $26,000 electric bill from Eversource.
Allison said that the amount of power generated by the solar array will be enough to cover about 75 percent of the cost of providing electricity to all town buildings.
“In the long run it saves the taxpayers money that would normally be appropriated through taxes to pay the electric bill,” Allison said.
Through its purchase power agreement, the town will pay ReVision Energy about 8 cents per kilowatt hour for the power its system generates, Allison said. That’s compared to the 12 cents per kilowatt hour it would pay Eversource, he said.
Allison said Eversource will then pay the town for the solar power supplied by the array.
Allison said the system is guaranteed for 25 years but could last for as long as 40. Over 40 years, he said, it could save the town close to $1 million in energy costs.