GRAFTON, Mass. — Grafton may tap into cheaper electricity from a proposed solar panel farm in Rutland in an effort to reduce overhead costs in town-owned buildings.
If the Board of Selectmen moves forward, this would be one of three projects the town administrator considers.
Joseph S. Fitzpatrick, from Tyngsboro-based DG Clean Power LLC, presented a plan in December that would allow the town to purchase the electricity. The plan could save taxpayers $120,000 the first year and $4.3 million over 20 years, he said. The plan is called net metering.
The agreement would be billed through National Grid, which would credit the entire 13.5 cent per kilowatt hour rate, said Fitzpatrick, a former secretary of energy for Massachusetts. DG Clean Power would bill the town for 9.5 cents per kilowatt hour, bringing a 4 cent per kilowatt hour savings. A 3 percent escalator would be built in over the 20 years, he added.
Since Rutland does not have a large electrical need, Grafton could benefit by buying the excess, Fitzpatrick said. The site will generate about 400 megawatts of electricity, he said.
But under state guidelines, net metering is capped at 3 percent of National Grid's total output, he said. If Grafton wants to act, a decision must be made soon, Fitzpatrick said. The Rutland solar farm construction, he said, will be completed by the end of the year.
Selectmen did not vote or discuss how much electricity the town might purchase. Town Administrator Tim McInerney said he hoped a decision can be made by March.
McInerney has been a proponent of net metering plans. Two additional sites — on the Follette Street Water District site and in Northbridge on the South Grafton line — are in the works. The electrical savings to the town could be $130,000, McInerney said in an October interview.