TOWNSEND -- Due to changes in two solar projects, an agreement to receive net metering credits from the town of Lunenburg will no longer benefit Townsend.
The credits would have given Townsend a 15 percent discount on its energy bills, amounting to $25,000 to $50,000 per year in savings to the town, according to Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan.
"It's always nice when you can shave your electric or gas bill. Unfortunately, we'll have to look elsewhere for that kind of savings," Sheehan said to selectmen in a meeting Feb. 11.
In December, Townsend selectmen approved an agreement to purchase the surplus credits from Lunenburg that would arise from solar projects off of Chase Road and Electric Avenue.
The credits can be bought and sold between municipalities for a discounted rate and used to pay the towns' energy bills.
"There were a couple of solar projects being proposed in Lunenburg, and under various energy-efficiency statutes there are opportunities for communities to receive net metering credits. Essentially, that comes out to about a 15 precent credit on utillity bills," Sheehan explained at the meeting.
"There were two projects by separate developers planning to build solar projects with both entities. There would have been a surplus of electricity from the projects, and Lunenburg offered the surplus to us," he said.
But now, one of the projects has been delayed indefinitely and the other no longer qualifies for the net-metering program due to a change in its classification.
"Unfortunately, there has been a change in the two projects in Lunenburg and one got delayed and may or may not take place. The other project that expanded in scope got enlarged and has now exceeded a threshold, so is no longer a project that is a net-metering project," Sheehan said.
"Anything that they can't use goes away; those credits are not transferable," he added.
Since the potential savings were not built into next year's budget, Sheehan said the town does not need to make any adjustments to its financial projections.
"It's through no fault of anybody's, just the nature of the two projects morphing and one project expanding in size, we will no longer get the benefit of net-metering credits," he said.
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