Solar project installer chosen

The ambitious solar project that could save the town $2.3 million over the next 20 years is on track to be built this summer, now that the Board of Selectmen has authorized First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice to award a contract to a system builder.
The selectmen at their meeting at Town Hall May 8 authorized Vanderslice to enter into an agreement with the solar company known as Kingspan, which was one of two finalist bidders for the project.
The company said it can generate 290,862 kilowatts, more than other competitors, for the job. There were nine in total, said Anne Kelly-Lenz, the town’s chief financial officer, who spoke about the project to the selectmen.
The nearest competitor, a company called Green Skies, quoted 255,070 kilowatts.
Kingspan’s purchase price for electricity was also lower. “Kingspan’s proposal is the greatest savings to the town,” Kelly-Lenz said.

Connecticut Green Bank will technically own the system. Kingspan will build it, and the system owner will subcontract the operation and maintenance to another company.
“The true advantage is the lack of a sole-source risk,” Kelly-Lenz said of the operations arrangement.
The impact to the roof of the buildings will be minimal, because no bolts are used to hold the solar arrays in place. Rather, sandbag ballasts are used, she said.
The plan is to install solar panels on the roofs at Miller-Driscoll School, Middlebrook School and possibly Wilton High School. The idea is to sell electricity to the town for 20 years at fixed rates that are lower than current and expected electric rates.
The town would have the option to purchase the arrays at the end of the 20 years or have the equipment removed at the vendor’s expense. If need be, equipment could be removed and reinstalled to allow for roof replacements.
The roofs would be generating solar power by October. Installation at the high school, which already has solar panels, will be discussed at a future date.