Council Wants More Time to Consider Solar Power Purchase-Agreement

September 14, 2018
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City councilors want more time to consider a solar power purchase-agreement that could save the city up to $275,000 per year on its municipal energy bill.

Monday night, the council heard from representatives of Renewable Energy Massachusetts, LLC and Syncarpha about the request for Everett to enter into a 20-year agreement to deliver solar energy to the city.

Renewable Energy Massachusetts LLC (REM) is a Massachusetts-based solar energy development company that has developed several large-scale operating solar projects in Massachusetts. Currently, they are developing 11 solar projects in central and western Massachusetts to deliver clean energy to National Grid, according to REM co-founder Brian Kopperl. Syncarpha would then sell those solar energy credits to municipalities and other large energy consumers at a fixed rate of a 1.5 cent discount per kilowatt hour over what National Grid charges.

“By selling you the credits, there will be $278,000 savings on average, and Everett will spend zero to realize that benefit,” said Kopperl. No solar panels will be built in Everett as part of the project and agreement, he added.

Many surrounding communities already take advantage of similar energy credit programs, Kopperl said. However, he saidEverett officials need to act fast on the proposal, since there are a limited amount of energy credits available from the project.

This agreement would only affect the city’s municipal energy use, not private consumers. Kopperl said Everett’s most recent annual energy bill from National Grid was $2.8 million.

While the council listened to the 10-minute presentation from Kopperl, it did vote to hold a special Council of the Whole committee meeting, likely next Monday night, to give members more time to digest the information provided on the agreement.

“I personally need more time to consider this,” said Ward 5 Councilor Rosa DiFlorio. She added that the council had just received the materials on the proposal, and she also requested that the mayor and other city officials give input on the agreement before a final vote is taken.

“We don’t have information tonight to make a 20-year commitment,” said Ward 6 Councilor Michael McLaughlin.

Council President Peter Napolitano said the council can call a special meeting after the committee meeting to officially vote on the solar power purchase agreement.