Kingston’s effort to tap into renewable energy on town-owned land has hit its share of complications over the years, but an agreement is near on what may be the final chance for the town to see a solar farm erected on its former landfill, according to the town planner.
Planner Thomas Bott said that the town is in the final stages of negotiating a contract with SunEdison for a solar array that would produce about a half a megawatt of power — enough to power roughly 75 homes. An earlier proposal that would have produced 1.5 to 2 megawatts of power failed several years ago after the town could not reach an agreement with the developer.
SunEdison will lease a portion of the landfill for 20 years and the town will be able to purchase power through the grid at a savings, Bott said, although the financial details are not yet set.
Bott said the company recently scaled down its proposal after it determined that the installation needed to be at least 400 feet away from a wind turbine already on the site, to prevent falling ice and snow from damaging the solar panels. He said he expects the contract to be wrapped up in time for the company to complete the project by December 2016 and meet the deadline for crucial federal tax credits.
Meanwhile, the wind turbine, which is owned by Kingston Wind Independence, continues to face noise-compliance issues, to the exasperation of nearby residents. Neighbors were further disappointed that the results of a noise study expected in late July, and then mid-August, are still not completed.
Bott said the town decided to wait for the results of the study before asking the company to lower the electricity production or to shut off the turbine in certain conditions to mitigate the noise complaints.