By Katina Caraganis
LUNENBURG -- Townsend has reached a tentative agreement to purchase energy credits from Lunenburg in a deal that could be completed by the end of summer, according to Lunenburg Town Manager Kerry Speidel.
Currently, two projects are slated to be built in Lunenburg, one off Chase Road and the other off Electric Avenue.
According to the agreement between the two towns, Townsend will give Lunenburg copies of all monthly utility bills. As the net-metering credits are generated, they will be allocated appropriately, and invoices will be delivered to Townsend.
Speidel said the Townsend Board of Selectmen will not meet again until the end of August to discuss the draft agreement she and Town Administrator Andy Sheehan put together.
"Both towns would have to agree to the proposal," she said. "The two communities together will use about 3 million kilowatt hours per year, so it really depends on what is produced from the two projects. There is a possibility we would have to bring in a third entity to use the remaining credits."
Lunenburg selectmen have already agreed to power-purchase agreements with both out-of-state developers, which means they have agreed to purchase 100 percent of the credits both projects generate.
If both towns do not have a use for all credits generated, Lunenburg as the host community could opt to bring in a third entity within Unitil Corp.'s service area to use the remaining credits.
"It could be Fitchburg State University, it could be the city of Fitchburg, it could be water districts," Speidel said. "It can be any governmental entity in the service territory."
Speidel has met with Joan Landers, superintendent of the North Middlesex Regional School District, to discuss the project.
"It was more she had questions about how it worked, but they could be a potential partner down the road," she said.
Both solar projects are on the selectmen's agenda for Tuesday night's meeting, but it is unclear if the two developers will have final documents ready for a vote.
Developers are asking that the town agree to a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT agreement. "There isn't anything left for the town to do. It's for the developers to accept the project," Speidel said. "The assessor has provided the real-estate valuation for both projects, so it's really up to the developers to decide."
She is hopeful both PILOT agreements will be signed by the end of August.
Sheehan did not return calls seeking comment.