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Solar Array on Plainfield School Property Clears First Hurdle

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 5/8/2017 12:09:06 AM
Modified: 5/8/2017 4:07:26 PM

Plainfield  — Zoning Board and Planning Board approvals are the likely next steps for a proposed solar array on elementary school property after the School Board last week approved agreements with the two entities involved in the project.

School Board Chairwoman Kate Whybrow said the board unanimously approved a power purchase agreement with Barrington Power and a 25-year lease agreement for the land with Norwich Technologies of White River Junction. Depending on when additional approvals are obtained, the array, which will supply the school with its electricity needs, could be built this summer.

One of the concerns among the public was whether the array would be located in the middle of the field behind the school’s parking lot, where there is a popular trail network. Siting options presented by Norwich Technologies included one in the field and one completely off the field, which would require the clearing of trees, WhyBrow said. A third option placed the array in a narrower configuration on the field but along the border with the trees.

“We kind of did a combination,” Whybrow said. “It will not be in the center of the field but not in the woods completely. It is set back in the trees some and will require some clearing.”

Whybrow also said the 2-acre array will not impact the trails. One issue that has been resolved is a payment in lieu of taxes plan, or PILOT, that Barrington Power, of Perkinsville, will pay.

 At a Selectboard meeting in March, David Russell, of Barrington, told the board his company needs a PILOT in order for the project to be financially feasible.

The five-year PILOT approved in April would have Barrington pay the town $3,000, or 10 percent of gross revenues from the array, annually, whichever is greater. Barrington would own the array for five years under the PILOT to take advantage of federal tax credits and look to either sell it to the school or negotiate a lease, Russell said in March.

Whybrow said the board likely would consider purchasing the array, but that decision is still five years away.

 Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.

 Correction

The Plainfield Selectboard in April approved a five-year payment in lieu of taxes plan for a proposed solar array at the Plainfield Elementary School in which Barrington Power of Perkinsville has agreed to pay $3,000, or 10 percent of gross revenues from the array, annually, whichever is greater. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the terms and status of the plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 




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