Litchfield News

Plan calls for solar energy arrays at Litchfield schools (04-07-19)

Solar arrays as they would appear on the roof of Center School under a plan being proposed by the Litchfield Energy Task Force. Illustrations courtesy of Smart Roofs

Litchfield officials are poised to embark on a solar energy project that would yield substantial savings over 25 years.
Under the plan conceived by the Litchfield Energy Task Force, the town’s three schools would be outfitted with either ground-mounted or roof-placed solar arrays that would generate energy for the buildings.
The arrays would be installed, operated, maintained and insured by Smart Roofs, a commercial solar developer and installer, at no cost to the town. The 25-year power purchase deal with Smart Roofs would yield a projected savings of $3.4 million for the town over the length of the agreement.
The town would purchase energy from Smart Roofs at a fixed cost over the 25 years. The fixed cost of $0.1197 per kilowatt hour is less than what Eversource Energy charges.
After 25 years, the agreement could be extended, the town could purchase the arrays at fair market value, or the town could take the arrays down.
The Board of Selectmen has endorsed the project, which was jump-started on Thursday when the Borough of Litchfield Historic District Commission approved the placement of solar arrays on the roof of Center School.
The Planning and Zoning Commission will have to approve plans for ground-mounted arrays at the intermediate school and high school/middle school. Official approval from the boards of selectmen and finance is also required as is voter approval at a town meeting.
The Litchfield Energy Task Force will be applying for zero emission renewable energy credits from Eversource that would provide a 15-year revenue stream to offset the cost of purchasing energy, according to task force Chairman John Post.
Savings at the high school over 25 years would be $2,162,511, at Center School $633,063, and at the intermediate school $616,668, according to Smart Roofs.
If all the approvals are secured this spring, construction of the arrays would begin during the summer and be complete by the end of the year, according to Post.

Solar arrays at the intermediate school, above, and high school/middle school, below. The arrays at the intermediate school would be built on the roofs of car ports. At the high school, the arrays would be built on the roofs of car ports and on the ground.