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Oct 17, 2015 2:10 PM

Durham deal will allow for solar panels to power its municipal buildings


DURHAM — The town is one step closer to building a solar array that's expected to power the community's municipal buildings and save taxpayers money.

According to Fosters.com, the community was approved this summer for a $501,000 grant through the state Public Utilities Commission to build a 640-kilowatt solar panel grid at the Packers Falls Gravel Pit in Lee on land owned by Durham.

The electricity generated will service all municipal buildings in Durham, as well as produce 10 percent more power than the town can use.

The excess may be used by the Oyster River Cooperative School District. The solar panels are being installed by the Exeter-based ReVision Energy, which will finance the solar panels for the first six years. After that, the town will have the option to purchase them.

Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig said the town can expect to say more than $5,000 a year for the first six years if Eversource pricing remains true to historical increases. The town could save even more if energy prices rise higher.

The Board of Selectmen in Lee have approved Durham’s request to make a payment in lieu of property taxes on the solar array. Lee would receive an annual payment of $6,247 and a total of $121,140 over 20 years under the deal. Durham would also pay Lee around $10,000 in building permit fees.


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