WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — A solar power contract negotiated between Town Manager Jim Malloy and representatives from the Harvey Farm solar project will provide Westborough with discounted electricity for the next 20 years.
The project, which most of the past year to gain approval, will provide "net metering" credits to be sold back to the town at 80 percent of the current electric rate.
"It doesn't make any difference to my bottom line where it goes, but I wanted to be a good citizen," Jim Harvey said. "I'm glad to sell it to the town."
The solar farm, reduced from its initial size due to town setback requirements, is 2.24 megawatts. It is estimated to produce 2.7 million kilowatt hours annually. The discounted price will be based on the electric rate, currently at 13.6 cents per kilowatt hour.
"Effectively it's taking a $100 gift card and paying $80 for it," said Adam Braillard, a lawyer representing the project.
Braillard, along with several representatives of the project, presented the Board of Selectmen with an overview of the plan Tuesday night.
"We are here because we want to do the right thing. We want to see a win-win," he said.
Here are the estimated savings:
- Year 1: $73,382
- Year 5: $390,236
- Year 10: $844,231
- Year 20: $1.98 million
The project will have several environmental benefits as well, due to a reduction in necessary carbon monoxide emissions. It will be equivalent to removing 166 million vehicle miles traveled and planting 20,000 mature trees, Braillard said.
"We're going forward, and I feel like now it's more real than it was a week ago," he said.
The project, located on the back of Harvey's 42-acre farm, was initially in question due to zoning bylaws. The farm is located in a residential zone, which bans large-scale solar farms.
After months of meetings and requests, the project group was granted a use variance by the Zoning Board of Appeals in October.