Central school in Ferrisburgh entertains a solar array plan

FERRISBURGH — At their Thursday meeting, the Ferrisburgh Central School board heard a proposal for a roughly 120-kilowatt solar array that would produce about the same amount of electricity needed to power FCS for a year.
Jon Budreski of Waterbury’s SunCommon outlined an arrangement for a solar array that would not provide electricity directly to the school, but through net-metering would earn FCS a credit of about $2,500 a year on its power bill.
A third-party investor would own the array, which FCS would lease from the investor in exchange for a lower Green Mountain Power bill. That credit, Budreski said, would start at about $207 a month and rise over time at the same rate as electricity bills, while the lease payment stayed the same.
The school would also have the option to purchase the array outright after about seven years, or get it for “pennies” or for free at the end of a 20-year lease, he said. The array would come with a 25-year warranty, Budreski said.
Ferrisburgh energy committee coordinator Bob McNary recommended the board consider it. But Addison Northwest Supervisory Union business manager Kathy Cannon said state education officials have reservations about similar arrangements because of the profit turned by investors and because of other energy needs that might be higher priorities. Cannon said she would be learning more in a July meeting, and the board tabled the solar array discussion until August.
Most board members and residents spoke positively about the proposal, although school board Chairman David Tatlock said the board would “need input on this” before acting.
Ferrisburgh resident Deb Rooney said she would not object to investors making a profit on the project.
“I’d rather pay money to someone who is providing green power,” she said.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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