Archived News


Wilton Looking at CCM's Solar Power Purchase Program

By Patrick Barnard - Wilton Patch
Posted on October 11, 2012

WILTON -- The Wilton Board of Selectmen on Tuesday authorized First Selectman Bill Brennan to sign an agreement allowing the town to participate in the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities' Solar Power Purchase Program.

As part of its ongoing effort to lower its energy costs and "go green" by making all facilities energy efficient, the Town of Wilton might soon be installing new solar/photovoltaic systems on two or more of its municipal buildings through participation in the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities' Solar/PV Power Purchase Program.

The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday authorized First Selectman Bill Brennan to sign an agreement allowing the town to participate in the program, which allows qualifying municipalities to receive long-term, fixed-price, green power with no upfront cost.

"We have an energy purchase program that seems attractive — it's an interesting program," Brennan said, adding that town counsel had reviewed the "no risk" agreement, which allows the town to "pull out at any time."

Under the program — a recent extension of CCM's Energy program — solar development companies design, finance, build, operate and maintain solar energy systems at municipal and school sites. In turn the development company sells the power generated by the solar facilities to the Town at a negotiated (i.e. low), fixed rate.

Developers finance the projects using revenue generated by the system as well as through the sale of Zero Emission Renewable Energy Credits (ZRECs), which provide between 66% and 75% of overall revenue for the project, according to CCM's website.

Numerous other Connecticut municipalities are already participating in CCM's Energy program.

In order to apply for the solar program the town had to identify sites (i.e. buildings) which have enough roof area to accommodate a 100 kilowatt installation.

Bruce Hampson, chairman of the Wilton Energy Commission, which reviewed the CCM Solar Power Purchase program in July, told the selectmen that the commission had identified two potential sites for installations: Comstock Community Center and the Field House at Wilton High School.

The Library, Hampson said, was considered as a site, but does not have enough space on its roof for a 100 kilowatt installation. "They will participate in another auction next year for a smaller kilowatt installation," he said.

The commission also looked at Middlebrook School, but its new roof has too much mechanical equipment in the way to accommodate an installation.

"So, if we're approved — and there are a lot of steps — we would have a minimum of 200 kilowatt installation," Hampson said.

Hampson explained that the cost associated with the installation would be absorbed by the developer.

"Bay State Consultants will be compensated for the work, along with CCM, by a single payment of .75 cents per watt of total installed capacity," Hampson said. "That fee will be capitalized and will be part of the financing arrangement that the vendor will absorb. The town will not be billed separately for that."

Brennan emphasized that the Town may opt not to participate if the numbers aren't compelling. He said after the Town submits its application to participate, competing developers will visit the sites and enter bids.

"There isn't any risk on this because we haven't decided yet whether to participate," Brennan said.

"We're doing this to save money," he added. "In the end it should reduce our costs — otherwise we wouldn't be participating. And if we can get lower energy costs by using solar — I think that's what we should be going for."

"We should continue to see what comes out of this — and what offers come in," he added. "A whole bunch of people are going to bid on this thing, let's see what we get…"

Using funding from a range of resources the Town last year installed a 20-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system above the science wing at Wilton High School. The solar PV system was installed by Alteris Renewables Inc.


Selectmen on Board with Clean Energy Increase for Town

By TOM EVANS Villager Staff Writer

Posted on 08/04/2011

WILTON—The town continues to make good on its pledge to use clean energy, with the Board of Selectmen agreeing to increase municipal clean energy to 30 percent of its output by 2015, it was announced at its regular meeting Monday night.

“One of the first recommendations the Energy Commission made (upon its creation) in 2008 was to make Wilton a clean community by 2010,” said Bruce Hampson, chairman of the Energy Commission. “And 20 percent of the town’s energy was clean energy by 2010. That recommendation served us well. We did it.”

There is still work to be done, according to Hampson.

“We had a vote two meetings ago, and the town is re-committed to clean energy,” Hampson said. “We want 30 percent of municipal energy to be a clean, Class 1 source of energy by 2015.”

A Class 1 source of energy, according to Hampson, is one derived from solar, small hydro-electric, wind, fuel cells, or methane from garbage mounds.

“(Former) Gov. (M. Jodi) Rell and Gov. (Dannel) Malloy said Connecticut should be a leader in clean energy,” Hampson said. “All electrical energy sold in Connecticut must meet that Legislature-approved standard. The goal for 2015 is a clean energy criteria of 30 percent.”

An awards program—earning points toward a photo-voltaic array for every household in town that converts to clean energy—is in place. Wilton earned 5,000 points for Wilton High School’s solar array alone, Hampson said of solar panels that produced 23,000 kilowatt hours per year, valued at $39,500.

“The new program hasn’t been totally finalized, and it may add solar-powered lighting and charging stations around town,” Hampson said of the points-reward system. “Even without incentives, this is the right thing to do. We are thinking globally and acting locally. Even if we didn’t earn the benefits, it’s the right thing to do.”

Now Hampson is urging the town to purchase Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).

“We urge the town to purchase credits for 2012, 2013 and 2014,” Hampson said. “Public Act 80-11 mandates that municipalities purchase RECs. Today is Connecticut a total of 103 towns are in the program. This is the way we will increase our clean energy usage to 30 percent by 2015.”

The selectmen unanimously approved a motion to help the town achieve that goal.


Wilton High School Goes Solar!

Source: CT Clean Energy Fund

A dedication ceremony was held April 14, 2011, in Wilton, Conn., to celebrate the installation of a 20-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system above the science wing at Wilton High School. The solar PV system was installed by Alteris Renewables Inc.

The system was made possible by diverse resources. The Town of Wilton earned 5 kW through CCEF’s Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program and also received a grant through CCEF’s On-Site Renewable Distributed Generation Program, resulting in total funding by CCEF of $75,575. The balance of the system cost was provided through a generous donation by Ron French, president of Alteris Renewables and former resident of Wilton, who made the donation in memory of his late wife, Sherry French, who was an ardent supporter of the environment and education. French’s contribution supported 15 kW of the system. French additionally made an arrangement with the Town whereby the money that the Town saves in utility bills as a result of the solar installation will be put into an annual scholarship in his wife’s name that will be awarded to a student chosen by the Wilton High School Science Department.

CCEF also provided funding for a special data monitoring system developed by Heliotronics, which will be utilized by students throughout the state as part of CCEF’s Learning for Clean Energy Innovation program.

At the dedication ceremony, remarks were made by representatives from the Town of Wilton; Wilton High School; Alteris Renewables; Little People, Big Changes; and CCEF. 

“To insure a sustainable future for our community, Wilton decided early to be a municipal leader in energy conservation, efficiency and renewable energy initiatives,” said First Selectman William Brennan. “Our Energy Commission has done a remarkably effective job over the last few years. Wilton has been designated a ‘Clean Energy Community’ and has been selected to participate in the federally funded Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge. While we have made significant progress with a broad range of programs, we still have many challenges to reach our leadership goal, but we will get there!”

Ron French added, “Now more than ever, it is important that students understand that solar and other renewable energy sources offer a viable alternative both today and for their future. I am proud to be able to advance the great educational options of Wilton High School in the memory of my late wife.”

The Wilton Energy Commission, established in 2007, and Little People, Big Changes, a children’s action group founded in 2006 by two 8-year-olds from Wilton, played a key role helping the Town earn 5 kW of solar PV through the Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program. The latter group was recognized for its impressive efforts in encouraging local signups under the CTCleanEnergyOptionsSM program, earning a Governor’s Climate Change Leadership Award in 2008. Both groups continue to make progress in securing signups.

As of December 31, 2010, Wilton had earned a total of 307 clean energy points from CCEF. Wilton earned one point for each of the 274 customers enrolled in the CTCleanEnergyOptions program and three points for each of the 11 clean energy installations in town. Wilton also earned a bonus kilowatt under the Clean Energy Communities program by surpassing 2.5 percent household participation in the CTCleanEnergyOptions program. The clean energy points and bonus award enabled the Town to earn 5 kW of solar PV from CCEF.

The Town can earn points toward additional clean energy system kilowatts by garnering more clean energy signups or having more local businesses and households install clean energy systems, such as solar PV, solar thermal or geothermal.

“The celebration today is a tribute to the collaboration between CCEF and the citizens of Wilton to advance awareness and use of clean energy options,” said Paula Byrdy, co-chair of the Wilton Energy Commission. “It's especially appropriate that the solar PV system has been installed at the high school where it will be a laboratory for studies in alternative energy technology, offering our youth an example and, we hope, an inspiration to lead our town and our state to a future independent of fossil fuels.”

The Wilton Energy Commission and Town leaders also helped Wilton meet its clean energy goal of 20% by 2010 and reduce energy use at municipal facilities and schools by 12%.

Looking to the future, Wilton plans to strengthen its commitment to clean energy. In next three years, Wilton will seek to dramatically increase residential enrollments in the CTCleanEnergyOptions program through its participation in the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge (N2N), a 14-town community energy savings program led by CCEF that was launched last month. Additionally, Wilton Go Green Inc., a committee of the Wilton Energy Commission that promotes clean energy and energy efficiency, has organized the second annual Wilton Go Green Festival. This event will be held on May 1 at the Wilton Library and the Wilton Town Green. Last year, the event featured over 80 exhibitors and attracted more than 1,000 attendees. This year, attendance is expected to easily top that number.

Wilton became a Connecticut Clean Energy Community in 2008. It is one of 53 Connecticut Clean Energy Communities statewide that, collectively, have earned 303 kilowatts of solar PV systems from CCEF. For more information about these and other Connecticut communities, visit the Program Progress Reports page on CCEF’s Web site or the general Communities section,

“The town government and citizens of all ages in Wilton have engaged in a deliberate, thoughtful process regarding their relationship with energy,” said Bob Wall, director of energy market initiatives for CCEF. “Fortunately, they have developed a holistic and sustainable plan that not only will save money and resources but will create a better quality of life for generations to follow.” 


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