Sunlight Will Save Town on Energy Costs

The Newtown Bee

By Kendra Bobowick

KB_solar_panels_installed_at_parks__Rec_garage

With the help of a hydraulic lift, members of Sound Solar Systems LLC fitted solar panels in place on the Parks & Recreation Department garage on Trades Lane Tuesday morning.

The new solar system will cover “virtually the entire roof,” front and back, said Public Works Director Fred Hurley.

Kathy Quinn, chair of the town’s Sustainable Energy Commission, was glad they are doing that there, she said, “because everyone can see it.”

Similar solar installs already include a system at Newtown Middle School, which is less visible to the public; and another system at Reed Intermediate School, which faces south, toward Wasserman Way. Another smaller install will take place at The Brian J. Silverlieb Animal Care and Control Center, just down hill from Reed and the Parks & Rec garage.

The garage provided a good location “and helped us produce solar energy in town,” Ms Quinn said. “We are looking to do additional and bigger systems” in the future, she added.

Via a renewable energy program through the state and utility companies, and at no cost to the town, the municipal buildings are being fitted with solar panels, confirmed Ms Quinn.

“We enter a contract that says we will purchase energy produced by that system at a reduced cost,” she said. The panels belongs to Sound Solar Systems, she said.

According to cl-p.com/REC, as part of a law signed by Governor Dannel P. Malloy on July 1, 2011, the state of Connecticut directed CL&P and United Illuminating Company to launch a 22-year program to promote, fund, and expand “behind the meter” renewable generation. “Behind the meter” refers to projects that are located behind the utility’s customer revenue meter.

As the site states, “CL&P customers who install new, qualifying renewable energy projects — ranging from rooftop solar panels to fuel cells — now have an opportunity to sell the qualified Connecticut Class I renewable energy credits [RECs] created from their projects to CL&P under a long-term, 15-year contract.”

A project subsidized by ZREC, which is how Mr Hurley referred to the Parks & Rec garage solar system, is Class I Renewable Energy Certificate from a zero emissions project.