BEDFORD — Town officials are searching for energy producers interested in installing a solar farm at the town’s landfill.
Last week, the town council authorized the town manager to issue a request for proposals for photovoltaic solutions at the landfill along Chubbuck Road. Photovoltaic power generation works by converting sunlight into electricity.
“Only a portion of the capped landfill could be used for solar at the present time,” said Councilor Chris Bandazian.
Officials initially considered a power-purchase agreement, but that wouldn’t generate enough savings to be worthwhile, according to Bandazian.
Although a power-purchase agreement is the standard approach, when a site is leased to a power producer that constructs and manages the site, and the site owner buys the power, this comes with added regulatory and construction expenses, said Town Manager Rick Sawyer. He explained that the lack of three-phase power on Chubbuck Road would also drive up the cost to where the town would not be able to complete the project.
So instead of a power-purchase agreement, the town is now looking to rent out town-owned land that cannot be used for any other purpose.
An undisclosed business is already interested in pursuing a lease with the town, Bandazian said.
“But at this point there is no commitment,” he said, explaining an RFP would provide town officials with an idea of how much interest there is in the project.
If there is interest during the RFP process, the town could potentially receive revenue should the project move forward, according to Sawyer.
It could possibly reduce the tax rate by one or two cents, added Bandazian.
There would be the additional benefit of having three-phase power brought to the nearby Department of Public Works garage and transfer station where converters are now used, Sawyer said, if the space at the landfill is rented by an energy producer.
The idea of implementing a solar park at the local landfill was first explored by the town four years ago, but has not yet come to fruition, said Sawyer.
He said the town’s Energy Commission has continued working on this program since that time, and now believes the option to rent certain parcels should be explored.
Aside from the landfill, there is also a separate, town-owned parcel on Station Road next to the Eversource substation that could also be leased and used as a solar farm, according to Bandazian.