Solar array goes before Warner residents at public hearing 

Monitor staff
Published: 2/2/2017 11:34:31 PM

Warner residents still seem wary to pull the trigger on adding a solar array to their town’s infrastructure.

The warrant article that would raise $338,530 for the array at the town’s transfer station dominated conversation at the public meeting for the town’s budget Thursday night. Residents had several questions about how the array would be paid for and how it would benefit the town. A similar proposal did not get the needed two-thirds vote last year because voters were concerned about the cost of the project if the Public Utilities Commission rebate did not come through. It is the only warrant that requires a two-thirds majority vote, according to town documents.

The majority of the project – about $263,595 – would be financed through lending institution if approved. State Rep. Clyde Carson said the town is currently speaking with the N.H. Community Development Finance Authority about securing a 12-year loan, but that’s not set in stone. The town hopes about $64,935 of the project will come as a rebate from the PUC, with $10,000 needing to be raised through taxes for the first year of the loan.

But the project would have zero impact on the tax rate and would be cash-positive, Carson said, because the array would produce enough energy to run the town’s transfer station; Eversource would purchase any extra power. The town could also sell renewable energy credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a market-based carbon emissions allowance program.

Combined, the two revenues would cover the array’s loan payments, Carson said, adding that eventually the array would produce enough electricity to fully cover the costs of the town’s municipal meters.

Budget committee member Jonathan Lord asked whether the extra revenue could be put toward the cost of the loan. Carson said no, as the state has rules about how revenue can be designated. He pointed out that the town could establish a revenue account specifically from Eversource’s checks, which the town could then vote to appropriate to use towards the loan.

The budget committee had not voted on whether to support the solar array article or any others by press time.

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