NASHUA — City officials are deciding whether to enter into a power purchase agreement with an energy provider that would then place solar arrays on select city buildings.
Four city-owned buildings have been identified as potential candidates, including the Lake Street fire station, the bus garage on Riverside Drive, the transportation office building at the public works department and the Conway Ice arena.
ReVision Energy has been selected for the proposed project, which is being considered by the Board of Aldermen.
The ultimate goal, according to Mayor Jim Donchess, is to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.
“This will help us work toward that goal,” he said this week.
Solar projects for two of the buildings are being proposed to take place this year, including the Lake Street fire station and the public works office.
James Hasselbeck of ReVision Energy said nearly 300 panels could be placed at the public works transit garage, which could offer 70 percent of the power consumption there, while about 400 panels could be placed at the fire station and offer about 80 percent of the power consumption at that facility.
“We are quite anxious to get moving on these projects in the near term,” Hasselbeck told the Board of Aldermen.
ReVision Energy has solar impact partners, or investment partners, to help entities such as municipalities overcome the financial barrier, explained Dan Weeks of ReVision Energy.
In this case, Weeks said a local family that lives and works in the community is willing to invest in the Nashua solar project, if it comes to fruition.
Weeks said it will cost the city nothing to have the solar installed on the buildings if the investor partner contributes about $502,800 to the project.
With a proposed power purchase agreement in place, the city’s rate would be 8.8 cents per kilowatt hour, with a rate escalator after year one of 2 percent per year, which includes an optional buyout of $301,680 in year six.
The 25-year net savings, including the optional buyout, is $483,000, and the 40-year net savings, including the optional buyout, is nearly $1.3 million, according to Weeks.
“Not doing this would be foolish,” said Alderman Ben Clemons.
With no upfront cost to the city and no obligation to purchase the solar array, the city would still be saving money, said Clemons.
Nashua’s Environment and Energy Committee previously pledged to do what it could to move away from fossil fuel dependence and focus on clean energy in the Gate City. The group aims to have the school and municipal systems derive 100 percent of their energy from renewable, clean energy sources by 2050.
In addition, the committee hopes to reduce the city’s municipal vehicle emissions and infrastructure greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025.