Wilton could become a solar generator

There will be a special Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday, July 26, at 7:30 p.m. so the board can consider an offer of using school roofs to generate solar electricity.

The board is considering an offer from Ross Solar Group,  to install solar panels on a couple of school roofs that would require an investment of two performance bonds, of $4,800 each.

First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice said the offer is being made because Connecticut law encourages alternative energy sources, and there is a program where Eversource, the power company, is required to invest in renewable energy sources. The power company is required to give out so much every year in grants.

In the grant, the power company is committing to buy excess electricity generated by Wilton at a certain price. There is a quantity it is willing to purchase.

“If we proceed, we put panels on the roof at Middlebrook,” she said, and probably Miller- Driscoll, and get 20-year zero interest financing from the Connecticut Green Bank.

“We use some of the power ourselves, but there are credits because we generate solar power,” Vanderslice said.”Eversource will buy it back from us.”

The deadline for committing the town to the solar program is Thursday, July 28, said Debra Thompson-Van, co-chairman of the town’s Energy Commission. Thompson-Van made a presentation to the Board of Selectmen during its meeting July 18.

“There would be zero up-front cost to the town,” Thompson-Van said, other than the two performance bonds.

The town will ask a lot of pointed questions first, like whether the school roofs are in good enough condition to support the solar panel installation.

If the Board of Selectmen agrees to take on the project, the bond money will come from the town budget, Vanderslice said.

The bond money is returnable.

“If you follow through on both projects, you get the bond money back,” Thompson-Van said.

She could not provide details on the specifics of how much in monthly electrical bills will be saved, or what the system will cost.

The savings to the town over 20 years would be $1.1 million, she said.