Derry Town Councilors have agreed to move forward with the request for proposal process (RFP) as they consider a project to possibly add solar to two municipal buildings.
They voted on their Tuesday, July 18 meeting to go forward with only the RFP process for the Marion Gerrish Community Center and the town’s Transfer Station after a motion was proposed by Councilor Jim Morgan.
Before the vote, councilors received an update on the efforts of the Net Zero Task Force on possibly adding solar and promoting it in town. The presentation was made by Jeffrey Moulton, Net Zero chairman, and Public Works Director Michael Fowler, also a member of the task force.
Fowler said Net Zero members have been working diligently over the past six months to a year to develop ideas and solutions of how to promote solar in town.
The task force is composed of members from Pinkerton Academy and other Derry schools, along with municipal organizations such as the Derry Economic Development and Advisory Committee, the Go Green Committee, and the Planning Board.
“So, we have a really good cross section within the group that represents a lot of different groups,” Moulton said.
Net Zero members have been exploring ways to implement energy conservation at local schools and municipal buildings.
“We spent the last year looking at trying to implement energy conservation across the schools and the municipal buildings to ensure they were operating at an optimum level,” Moulton said.
He added that most of the facilities were already operating at optimum levels thanks to Fowler, who has done an excellent job as public works director to ensure municipal buildings were modernized and by adding LEDS and modernizing HVAC systems and other equipment.
Toward the end of last year, the task force members turned their attention to possibly introducing renewable energy to Derry. In reviewing potential sites, they considered locations that were central to downtown and would routinely draw a lot of residents.
One of the projects involves possibly adding solar panels to the Marion Gerrish Center to achieve about 45 percent of the electric energy needs, Moulton said. Under this scenario, the system would add panels to the roof of the building and cost about a total of $49,000.
But, with rebates, the cost would be reduced to about $36,000. With other savings, the system could be paid back in about seven to eight years.
With the systems warrantied for 25 years, after the first seven to eight years, the town would be receiving electricity for free for approximately the next 17 to 18 years, Moulton explained.
As for the transfer station, figures were presented that showed the overall cost to add solar would total approximately $270,000. With rebates, the cost would be reduced to about $202,600 under the scenario that was presented. With other savings, the system could be paid back in about seven to eight years.