The Town of Waitsfield is seeking information regarding the potential lease of 3.5 +/- acres of municipally-owned land for a ground-mounted, group net-metered photovoltaic electricity generation facility (hereinafter, “solar facility”) capable of producing as much as 500 kWh of electricity.
The 74-acre parcel is the site of a municipal gravel extraction and processing operation, entered via a Town-owned access road off of the western side of Route 100 near Armstrong Road and across from Tremblay Road. The site, shown in Attachment A, is a mix of open meadow, trees, floodplain, and an active municipal gravel pit. The Town is looking to lease land for the installation and operation of a solar facility for a term of 15 years with an option for a five-year extension (20 years total).
The Town’s goals for the project are:
- To diversify the local renewable energy portfolio through the development of local generation capacity consistent with community facility siting standards on Town-owned property.
- Reduce the overall carbon footprint of the Town of Waitsfield and its residents, businesses, and visitors.
- Generate non-property tax income that can be used to invest in infrastructure, energy efficiency, debt reduction, and fiscal sustainability and resiliency.
The Town is interested in seeing what locations on the site might be viable for a solar facility. The approximately nine-acres in use for gravel extraction and processing activities cannot be used as a site, and the solar facility can, in no way, interfere or inhibit the gravel extraction and processing activities of the Town. The estimated “life” of the site for gravel extraction and processing is 20 years, with approximately 10 to 12 years remaining – though the life of the pit is variable depending on the amount of gravel extracted in any given year.
The request for information is the first step in what may be a multi-step process. The second step, should the Selectboard decide to proceed after reviewing the responses to the RFI and information gathered from it, would be an open request for proposals (RFP) to select a project partner. The Town is interested in partnering with an entity that would, in addition to leasing the land, be wholly responsible for all costs and tasks related to permitting of and for the facility, along with the operation and maintenance of it. Any lessee shall be required to decommission the solar facility at the conclusion of the lease period unless otherwise agreed to.
Responses to the RFI are due no later than Friday, June 15th, at noon. For more information, please contact Town Administrator Trevor Lashua at [email protected] or (802) 496-2218, ext. 5.