FREEPORT — Town councilors Tuesday continued to discuss a power purchase agreement that would provide solar energy benefits to the town and Freeport Sewer District.

Nick Sampson, the agreement manager for ReVision Energy, a Portland solar energy company that is proposing to build and lease a solar farm to Freeport, told councilors the project will be more financially beneficial to investors now than it will be a few months down the line.

“There is a 30% tax credit that is available for solar projects that is good through 2019,” Sampson said.  After 2019, the tax credit shrinks, he said.

At the Town Council’s June 18 meeting, Councilor John Egan said the arrangement follows a third-party ownership model, which allows an investor to take advantage of federal income tax benefits that municipalities cannot access.

If the town joins the agreement, Egan said, nearly $150,000 will be saved in electricity costs over the minimum eight-year term of the lease.

Under the agreement, ReVision would build the solar array and offer the town and sewer district discounted energy rates at 8 cents per kilowatt hour. Egan said this part of the agreement is much like purchasing a car from a dealership that as a benefit offers a discounted rate of $1 per gallon of gas.

The project, if approved, will be completed in December and would not cost the town anything to get started, according to Sampson.

“(ReVision) would finance on behalf of the town,” he said. “The town must buy 100% of the solar generation from the investor for as long as the terms.”

The term of the agreement would be 25 years with the opportunity for the early buyout after eight years, he said. The town could benefit, he said, by maximizing a solar tax credit and minimizing the agreement rate.

According to Sampson, the solar panels would be built in Fairfield.

No decision was made Tuesday because the sewer district’s approval is pending, along with a draft power purchase agreement. The council is expected to make a decision July 23.

Sewer district officials are expected to discuss the agreement July 15.

Both the sewer district and the town must agree to the contract.

 


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