The Hadley Board of Selectmen have entered into an agreement with the Hampshire Council of Government’s Hampshire Solar and North Andover-based solar developer Nexamp to reduce the town’s electricity costs, thereby saving Hadley tax payers money.
According to an HCOG prelease announcing the agreement, Nexamp will build a solar array at Allard Farm on Mill Valley Road, east of South Maple Street. The proposal that was submitted to the town shows that the array will be located near the Amherst line on a field currently being used for growing corn. (See a couple of different maps showing the location by clicking here and here.)
Hadley will purchase discounted credits and use those credits as direct offsets to the town’s electricity bills at a savings of 21%. HCOG stated that a dollar’s worth of credits will only cost Hadley taxpayers 79 cents.
Jon Abe of Nexamp estimates that the savings off the town’s electricity bills during the project life will amount to $25,000 per year, or $500,000 over a 20-year period, according to HCOG.
The Town also agreed to continue its long-term partnership with the HCOG to supply or broker electricity for a five-year term. HCOG claimed that Hampshire Solar offers the highest discounts in the field and is entirely local.
HCOG stated that the solar field is expected to generate up to 3 Megawatts of electricity and is expected to be operational in January 2014.
Town Administrator David Nixon stated that the partnership with the Town of Hadley, the Hampshire Council of Governments, and Nexamp is an innovative combination of public, private, and regional interests that will reduce costs and increase the Town’s use of renewable energy, the HCOG press release stated.
Nexamp was permitted by the town of Belchertown last year to build a commercial solar array on seven acres of land that was previously a driving range last year, but construction of that array has yet to start. The electricity generated from the Belchertown array is to be sold to National Grid, according to news reports.
A call to Nexamp was not immediately returned.
Leasing land to solar developers are a great opportunity for land owners seeking addition income. Because of the amount of land required for a commercial solar array to be economically viable, about 5 acres is needed. Given the numerous farms in Hadley, there is a lot of potential for Hadley farmers and other Pioneer Valley landowners to cash in on land leases to solar developers.
That is not to say, however, that homeowners can’t take advantage of other programs that make it more affordable. Amherst is applying to take part in Solarize Mass, a partnership between the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MCEC), the Green Communities Division of the commonwealth’s Division of Energy Resources (DOER), and participating cities and towns. Northampton, Montague, and Palmer are already participating in the program.
Under the program, homeowners in participating communities can either buy or lease solar panels for their homes. Under the lease option, a home owners would either enter into a lease or a power purchase agreement. “Under a lease or PPA, the installer will own, operate and maintain the system, while the home or business owner agrees to purchase the power generated by the system at an agreed-upon rate,” states the Solarize Mass website.
If you are planning on buying or selling a home or land in the Pioneer Valley, make your first call to Michael Seward at 413-531-7129. Michael Seward is a Certified Residential Specialist, a Certified Buyers Agent, A Certified Loss Mitigation Specialist, a Certified New Homes Specialist, and Green designee of the National Association of REALTORS®.