Bowdoinham has a new opportunity to save money for its annual budget. Everyone will have a chance to vote on this opportunity the next time we have a Town Meeting.
The savings will come through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Revision Energy—the company that will install a solar panel array on the roof of the Public Works Building. The array will generate enough power to cover the electric needs for our municipal buildings and street lights. Under this agreement, Bowdoinham will not have to put down any money up-front, and will benefit from savings on its electric bill over the next 20 years. If approved at the Town Meeting, the savings will start with approximately $1,000 in the first year and will add up to $39,000 over the 20 years the PPA lasts. With a current electric bill of $15,000 per year, that will be a savings of 6-13% during this span.
Many municipalities have taken the step of entering PPA’s ever since this option has been offered. The Bowdoinham Selectboard asked the Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC) to research the viability of doing the same for our town back in February, 2020. After deep research, interviews, and discussions, CDAC unanimously recommended that Bowdoinham take this step. The benefits seemed obvious: the town did not have to pay for the solar array up-front, the electricity it generates will be less expensive for the town, and we can continue in the agreement for 20 years without any capital expense. Changing to a renewable energy source is an added benefit.
The Selectboard agreed with CDAC’s recommendation and issued a Request for Proposals for the project. Revision’s proposal was accepted by the Selectboard in Nov. after some negotiation and by adding the contingency of town meeting approval.
After 20 years, Bowdoinham could decommission the array at little to no cost. At that time, the town could instead choose to make any needed repairs or replacements and continue to benefit from the energy the panels would generate—probably over the next 20 years since the lifespan of much of the equipment is 40 years. With the second option, the town would have to pay for maintenance and repair in the second 20 years, but it would get the full savings from generating its own energy.
CDAC is recommending that Bowdoinham let Revision be responsible for the array for 20 years so that the town can receive the savings without having to spend any money. The town could, however, make a different decision after the first 5 years of the PPA. It would mean greater savings. After 5 years, Bowdoinham could buy the array for approximately $131,000 and end up with a net savings of $139,000 over the 20-year period. This is something we can consider closer to the time. There are a number of capital improvements the town needs to do in coming years, so this option will need to be a part of a larger budget consideration.
See the Meeting Info Here:https://www.bowdoinham.com/event/solar-informational-session
Email Wendy for More information at: email@example.com
Revision Energy, a leader in solar energy projects, has provided this information. They describe the reason why municipalities are choosing solar energy and all the ways in which they are saving. This link will lead you to some very helpful background information on solar energy - https://www.revisionenergy.com/at-work/solar-ppa-schools-non-profits/
Meeting Link -
Meeting ID: 838 6955 4355