Solar project proposed for HUUSD

  • Published in News

Map of Mad River Park, Waitsfield

The Harwood Unified Union School District board has approved a proposal from Aegis Renewable Energy, Waitsfield, and Kingsbury Construction, Waitsfield, that could result in an annual savings of $10,000 for district taxpayers. The board has approved the proposal pending legal review. 

The board, at an August 8 meeting, met with representatives from Aegis to discuss the proposal. TJ Kingsbury, of Kingsbury Construction, has offered to host a solar project near Mad River Park next to both the HUUSD administrative buildings and the Aegis offices.

“There’s no risk at all and there’s a guaranteed 12 percent discount on credits that the school will get off of its electric bill. There really is no monetary impact to the school and there is a significant savings for the school district and school as well,” said Nils Behn, Aegis representative.

The project would ultimately result in an estimated annual savings for the Harwood Unified Union School District of $10,188. The school would get net-metered credits from the cost per kilowatt hour that would go on the school’s electric bill as a credit.

“The credit that we are getting is what the median credit that gets applied to our Green Mountain Power bill. There is a meter that allocates the solar to Kingsbury’s office and to us, and so there’s a median percentage that is set. Then we receive actual solar credits on our bill and based on this agreement I believe the splits is 85/15, so what actually we receive on our bill as a credit to our electricity, we turn around and we pay Kingsbury 85 percent of the credit we received and retain a percentage of the savings,” said Michelle Baker, HUUSD director of finance and operations.

The contract would be in place for 25 years with a loophole if the school finds another interested party to take on the solar project if the school no longer wanted to be involved.

If the school district goes forward with the project, Kingsbury Construction would get an investment tax credit of 30 percent of the value of the project. Kingsbury Construction would also receive a 7.2 percent Vermont state tax credit and the depreciation as for financing the project. Aegis is handling the contracting and permitting as well as building the project as the general contractor. After the project is commissioned, Aegis would continue management.

The solar panels would help offset the district’s $85,000 current annual electric bill. The school would in return pay Kingsbury $74,712, leaving the school district with an estimated $10,188 in savings. There is no cost to the school district for supplying and construction of the solar panels.

At the end of the discussion, a motion was made by Waterbury representative Alex Thomsen to accept the proposal and was seconded by Fayston representative Jill Ellis. Fayston representative Theresa Membrino moved to amend the motion to include conditional approval based on pending legal review and projections. That amendment was seconded by Waterbury representative Maureen McCracken.