Jul 19, 2015 10:05 AM
NH's Executive Council expected to vote on Manchester solar project
CONCORD - The N.H. Executive Council will vote this week on whether to support a major solar energy project in Manchester at the site of a closed landfill.
According to the Union Leader, the city is proposing the biggest solar energy project in the state at a cost of $2.6 million and is seeking a $1.2 million grant from the state's Renewable Energy Fund for the project.
The Executive Council's vote on that grant, expected Wednesday, is being closely watched in other communities hoping to save on electrical costs with solar projects of their own.
Jaffrey wants to build a $2.6 million array on its closed landfill, with a $1.1 million grant. Bristol has submitted a grant request of $1.26 million to build near its wastewater treatment plant. Derry, Milton, Nashua, Franklin and the Dover School District also have projects in the works.
At the last Executive Council meeting on June 24, a $500,000 grant for a solar array in Lee squeaked by in a 3-2 vote after Councilor Joseph Kenney was swayed by the strength of local support for the project.
But whether Kenney will again join with the two Democrats on the council to give the Manchester project the green light remains unclear. The two Democrats on the Council have consistently supported the recommendations of the Public Utilities Commission, which oversees the Renewable Energy Fund. Meanwhile two of the Republican councilors have preferred wind, biomass and geothermal projects over solar.
"I think we can get a lot more bang for our buck with other renewables," GOP Councilor Chris Sununu told the Union Leader.
Under state law, N.H. must aim for 25 percent of its energy to come from renewable sources by 2025.