Energy commission eyes new solar project

Solar panel installations at Miller-Driscoll and Middlebrook are still pending due to lack of agreement between the town and Connecticut Green Bank, Glenn Hemmerle told the Board of Education during its Sept. 28 meeting.

Hemmerle, a member of both the Board of Education and Wilton Energy Commission, said the expectation was to have the panels installed on the roofs of both schools by the beginning of the school year, but “clearly, that hasn’t happened.”

“We do not yet have an agreement with the Green Bank,” he said. “The contract is still in question.”

Hemmerle said there’s equipment sitting at Miller-Driscoll and the energy commission is “ready to go,” but he doubts the project will be complete by the end of this year.

In the meantime, Hemmerle said, the energy commission is beginning to look at Fairfield Warde High School, which recently solarized three of its parking lots.

“It looks great,” said Hemmerle.

“They have — in a carport manner — long solar strips over their senior parking lot and the two extended parking lots.”

Hemmerle said Facilities & Energy Management Director Chris Burney is “working with his counterpart in Fairfield to find out, how, why, when, what, et cetera.”

“The energy commission had a proposal about a year or more ago to do a similar project both here in [Wilton High School’s] senior parking lot and the [area] that runs the entire length of the athletic fields,” he said.

“It can be done, so we’re beginning to look at that as a possibility.”

Hemmerle said the window for zero emissions renewable energy credits (ZRECs) through Connecticut’s solar incentive program is currently open.

“This will probably be the last time such a program will be offered by the state, so we [the energy commission] are going to go ahead and submit for the ZRECs,” he said.

“We’d like to get it locked up so we can have the possibility of doing it.”

Hemmerle said such a project would “greatly enhance” the high school, as well as the town.

The Wilton Energy Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. in Room 12 of the Comstock Community Center.

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m., in Miller-Driscoll School’s multi-purpose room.