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Mansfield OKs solar facility - The Sun Chronicle : Local News

Mansfield OKs solar facility

Company will use location at landfill

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Posted: Friday, January 20, 2012 12:00 am

MANSFIELD - Let there be sunlight.

Selectmen voted this week to authorize SunEdison to build a solar facility in town, pending a minor change to a contract between SunEdison and the Mansfield Municipal Electric Department.

The facility will be on the landfill at the corner of East and Pratt streets.

Under the plan, Mansfield will lease the land to SunEdison, which will install the solar facility and sell electricity to the town at a fixed price of 5.25 cents per kilowatt hour for 20 years, Electric Department Director Gary Babin said.

The arrangement will save the town the $5 million cost of building a solar facility, and will generate revenue from leasing the land.

It also will turn the current landfill into a productive space.

Babin has said there are incentives on both state and federal levels to have private developers build solar facilities, one element of the burgeoning green energy movement.

The facility - rated at 1.5 megawatts of capacity, with an estimated annual output of 2 million kilowatt hours - would supply about 1 percent of the town's electricity.

That supply of green resources should slightly diminish the town's reliance on fossil fuel-burning plants.

Babin said it will take a little more than a year to get the facility up and running, including permitting, building and installation.

He said that if environmental permitting goes smoothly, construction should begin in about 10 months, and should take about three months to complete.

Selectmen authorized the agreement, pending a change that links the agreement to purchase power with two other agreements: the lease agreement and the interconnection agreement, which ensures that the facility complies with technical requirements necessary to interconnect with the electric department system.

Selectmen had concerns about entering into a contract to purchase power without a lease being in place.

LAUREN CARTER covers Mansfield for The Sun Chronicle. She can be reached at 508-236-0336 or lcarter@thesunchronicle.com.

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