Both Waitsfield and Warren are considering the installation of solar panel arrays that will provide the bulk of their town and school electrical needs.
Voters in both towns will be asked to approve bond votes of up to $460,000 for Warren and $355,000 for Waitsfield. Those bond amounts could be offset by as much as $125,000 – the maximum allowable grant amount available through the state's Clean Energy Development Fund.
There have been occasions over the past decade when both towns, as well as Moretown, were approached by companies seeking to install similar installations for the towns. The local towns expressed interest but balked at the fact that they would have had to decide yes or no in a very short period of time to receive expiring tax credits. So they all let it pass.
But the time may be right now for Warren and Waitsfield to go forward. Both systems would save taxpayers money on electricity costs. Both systems would be net metered. The Waitsfield project is designed so that not only will the town offices be net zero in terms of energy, but the bond costs will be repaid by the electricity generated and the town will still save $269,000 over 25 years.
The Warren project is slightly more expensive because the town is putting in three- phase power and while it may be close to revenue neutral, it might not be 100 percent revenue neutral.
However, both towns are applying for state grants and with their proven track records in grant writing, the towns may receive grants that put those projects well into the revenue neutral zone.
The Waitsfield project would be constructed in the northwest corner of the town garage property off Tremblay Road or on the Munn parcel along Route 100. Either location would require a plot of land about half as big as a football field.
The Warren project would be constructed at the back of Brooks Field between the road that runs around the field and the woods that border the back of the field. That project needs about 40 by 300 feet.
The time was not right before – but it seems to be now.