Town withdraws request for solar panel proposals

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North Attleborough Town Hall

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

Citing a lack of savings and a cost to taxpayers, Town Manager Michael Borg has decided to withdraw a Request for Proposals for a solar panel project.

At Monday’s Town Council meeting, Borg said the project—first explored last June—has been put on hold. The proposal would have been to install panels on a capped 12-15 acre parcel of the town’s landfill. Peter Schiffman, general manager of the North Attleborough Electric Department [NAED], said at the time that similar projects have been successful in other towns. NAED purchases its power from multiple sources, including nuclear and renewable sources.

Borg said that the proposal given to the town called for a 4.2 megawatt installation, which would generate power sold to NAED at a rate of 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour, with a price increase of 2 percent each year over a 20-year contract. Borg said that NAED pays approximately 2 cents per kilowatt hour for power from other sources.

We looked at this and mulled over it for quite some time,” said Borg. “We came to the decision that it was not in the town’s best interest.”

Borg added that the expense would lead to a $10 million cost increase over 20 years that would be borne by the ratepayers. He said the deal may be revisited if further developments make it more lucrative.

It became a complicated deal over a long period of time,” he said.