South Portland revises pact for solar farm

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 0

SOUTH PORTLAND — The City Council on Monday unanimously authorized the city manager to draft and deliver an updated agreement for a solar energy farm at the capped landfill.

The council on June 19 also awarded contract for a therapy hot tub at the Community Center pool and approved funds to renovate the Redbank Community Center.

ReVision SunFill was approved by the council in February to install the photovoltaic array at the former landfill at 929 Highland Ave. 

According to Sustainability Coordinator Julie Rosenbach, the power purchase agreement sets an initial rate of about 10 1/2 cents per kilowatt hour, with a 2.5 percent annual escalation after the second year.

That’s approximately 2 1/2 cents more than what the city pays for electricity, which translates into a $31,000 premium annually for the first six years. The project is expected to provide a full return on investment in year 11.

“A lot of work has gone into this to finally get us to this point, and I’m really happy to see this moving forward and I support it wholeheartedly,” Councilor Linda Cohen said.

Since the contract with the city was signed in March, ReVision also finalized a partnership with Kenyon Energy as its financing partner. Kenyon has since requested minor changes to the power purchase agreement.

“I don’t consider any of these major changes; they don’t change the intent of what we brought to you as this project,” Rosenbach said.

The main change to the solar agreement is the city’s option to purchase the system. Instead of being available annually starting in year seven, the deal will allow the purchase only in years seven, nine, or 12. The council had already agreed that it would be “most economical” to purchase in year seven. 

“(This change) does not throw us off from the original goal of an outright purchase in year seven. (It is) just saying there are other possibilities around that same time,” Councilor Claude Morgan said. “As long as we stay committed, we’re right on goal there.” 

In other business, the council voted unanimously approved the acquisition of the therapy hot tub at the Community Center’s pool from Hydroworx, of Middletown, Pennsylvania.

“This is a project we’ve been trying to get underway for quite some time now,” Finance Director Greg L’Heureux said. 

The council also voted unanimously to repurpose Community Development Block Grant funds for repairs and renovations at the Redbank Community Center.

The Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Committee has been planning an addition to the center for several years. In March, the council decided not to add an additional $470,000 to the Capital Improvement Program budget to fund the project; instead, the $280,000 in CDBG funds will be used for improvements.

Finally, the July 3 council meeting was rescheduled to July 10 to allow councilors to take time off the Monday before Independence Day. 

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 183 or Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

South Portland City Clerk Emily Scully, left, at the June 19 City Council meeting, swears in Katherine Gatti, who will fill the remainder of a Planning Board term that expires April 1, 2019.