SHIRLEY -- Members of the Shirley Energy Committee said they are pleased with progress on coming to terms with a company seeking to build a large-scale solar array in town that would reduce the town's electric bills by at least half.
The Energy Committee, water commissioners and a representative from EPG Solar met Sept. 12 to hammer out some of the details but, little progress had been made on moving forward until last week, according to Energy Committee Chairman Brian Dumont.
Dumont said he and other committee members have been waiting on a more definitive location for the solar facility on Devens that would benefit the town, as well as the lease agreement and completion of the contract.
A revised lease agreement and power-purchase agreement were finally sent to the board, Dumont said, and now they must review them to make sure it benefits Shirley residents.
"It appears progress is being made, and we are moving forward with a definitive schedule," Dumont said. "It should cut our electrical cost almost in half. If we can do that, that's a police officer or firefighter we would potentially hire back."
Robert Babcock, a managing partner with EPG Solar, said the process is going as expected. He hopes the issues are cleared up sooner rather than later.
"There's lots and lots of work to do, and we're doing it," Babcock said. "We had some follow-up that we had to do, and we've been going through all of that. I've had people out there looking at grading and stuff."
"We still have a lot of work to do," he added. "We've got a bit of a complicated thing there because with the town of Shirley, it's straightforward with the PPA and a small piece of property."
The water-district project will be slightly more difficult because multiple parties are involved in the process, and everyone must agree.
"They're trying to run it at the same time," Babcock said of the Energy Committee. "It could take a while. Everybody is doing a walk-through of the documents we submitted."
-- Katina Caraganis