By Katina Caraganis
LUNENBURG -- The town will no longer have to worry about buying and selling net-metering credits for a solar project off Chase Road because Unitil will purchase the power on the town's behalf.
The original size of the project, constructed by NuGen Capital out of New York, was 3.1 megawatts, but has since been downgraded in size. Because of that, it moved into a different class of solar projects, which makes it ineligible for net-metering credits.
The solar project is now a class III. Class III facilities are generally defined as systems greater than one megawatt and up to two megawatts in capacity that generates electricity from agricultural products, solar energy or wind energy.
The project would have generated net-metering credits. Net-metering credits are generated by a solar facility. Instead of using energy as a homeowner or business would, the solar farm only generates energy.
It then sells the energy, in the form of credits, to a municipality for pennies on the dollar. The municipality would then use those credits to pay its electric bill.
Instead, Unitil will purchase the entire electric supply generated by the solar project, and then send the town a check for the cost of the electric supply, Town Manager Kerry Speidel said. The town would pay the owner of the project first. The difference between what Unitil buys from the town and what they pay NuGen is what the town keeps, she said.
"On an annual basis, we are anticipating applying $80,000 to the town's energy costs," Speidel said. That would include the school's energy costs, she said.
"My proposal would be we split it based on the percentage usage. I think our costs are about 50/50. It may be the school is a little more than half," she said.
Under the power-purchase agreement with NuGen Capital, initially Lunenburg would have had to purchase and take delivery of 100 percent of the net-metering credits generated by the project because it is the host community.
Initially, Townsend would have purchased a number of credits because Lunenburg would have bought more credits than it could use in a reasonable amount of time. Because the credits have been taken off the table, Townsend will no longer be able to purchase them.
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