The Derry Net Zero Task Force, dedicated to finding ways to efficiently provide the town with more eco-friendly energy options, recently met at the Derry Municipal Center on November 16 to discuss their continuing efforts to introduce solar energy systems across town.
The primary focus of the meeting came with a recent staff report done by Mike Fowler, the Director of Public Works for Derry, on the effectiveness of solar panel set ups used by the Marion Gerrish Community Center and the town’s Transfer Stations.
Unfortunately, Marion Gerrish’s progress proved to be underwhelming when compared to the cost of the project, as well as upkeep for electrical services within the system. Thus, the output of the Transfer Stations instead became the focal point for the task force, as continuing to keep the systems running would help the station see an energy payback in just over nine years, essentially meaning that the savings would render electricity for the stations free.
The task force is hoping to present their findings to the Town Council by the end of the year, but although keeping the systems up and running would also lead to annual savings of twenty thousand dollars on electricity, staff members expressed their concerns that the cost of keeping the project, including two hundred and twenty four thousand dollars up front, will overshadow the impact of the system. However, Joshua Bourdon, Town Council Chairman and the council’s representative for the task force, believes that it will still impress the council and the public enough, praising both the work of the task force and the output of the systems.
“This is an example of outside-the-box thinking”, Bourdon noted.
In other news, the task force continued to discuss the possibility of introducing electric car charging stations to Derry, preferably near the highway. While delving into ways that they may be able to fund the project and raise publicity about it as well, suggestions were made to place the station within the municipal parking lot. Furthermore, members suggested getting some local businesses in Derry to sponsor the stations, including the possibility of handing out vouchers to the stations for anyone who visits their business.
Finally, members went ahead and touted the use of solar-estimate.org, a website that allows visitors to enter information about their home and utility bill and determine how much money they could possibly save by switching over to a solar energy system.