The Falmouth Enterprise
by Ryan Bray
Citizens Energy, the nonprofit organization founded by Joseph P. Kennedy II, will construct the solar photovoltaic array on 48 acres of the town landfill.
The Falmouth Economic Development and Industrial Corporation unanimously voted to award the project to Citizens Energy Tuesday morning. The company, which Mr. Kennedy founded in 1999, was one of seven contractors that submitted a bid for the project in November.
Town Meeting approved three articles last month allowing for construction of the array on the landfill to move forward. The town will lease the land to the EDIC for construction of the array. The EDIC will then sublease the land to Citizens Energy, which will own, operate, and maintain the array.
Citizens Energy pledges to annually generate six megawatts of energy through its array, which the EDIC estimates will generate $700,000 in annual energy savings for the town. The EDIC originally expected the array to save the town $200,000 to $500,000 a year in energy costs.
The EDIC will be reimbursed the $100,000 it put into researching plans for building the array as part of its contract with Citizens Energy, EDIC chairman Michael P. Galasso said. The company also will pay $75,000 to hire a clerk of the works for the project.
"This truly is a project that is being done at no cost to the town," said James E. Fox, a member of the EDIC.
Mr. Kennedy applauded the EDIC's efforts in supporting solar energy and thanked the board for the work it put into making construction of the array possible.
"This project will work and you'll be proud to have done something that benefits not only your community but your country as well," he said.
The company's proposal also calls for the installation of a second, smaller array that will generate an additional two megawatts of energy on eight to 10 acres of town land. Half of the energy generated through that array will help power approximately 200 low income households at a reduced rate.
"It's a good way of marrying our nonprofit mission with our solar business," said Emma Kosciak, who is the manager of solar development for Citizens Energy.
"The low income component is something that I want to highlight about this project," said selectman and EDIC member Susan L. Moran. "We really appreciate it."
Citizens Energy representatives say the company is committed to completing work on the array on the landfill by the end of 2016, a timeline that allows it to qualify for $3 million in state tax credits. Installation of the second array will come at a later date, after the company and EDIC identify available land and households that qualify for the project, Ms. Kosciak said.
Mr. Kennedy said that Citizens Energy will rely on the EDIC to help it identify families that qualify for the energy benefits. Mr. Galasso said site options for building the smaller array could include 18 acres of land located near the landfill. The EDIC could also look into purchasing land from the Steamship Authority to build the array, he said.
A letter of intent needs to be signed by the EDIC and Citizens Energy, after which a contract between both groups will be finalized. Mr. Fox said that the contract needs to be in place by January 31 in order for construction on the landfill array to begin by spring.
The EDIC also expects to make informational presentations to both selectmen and members of the planning board in the coming weeks, while the EDIC will officially enter into a lease with the town to use the landfill at the selectmen's next meeting on Monday, December 21, Mr. Fox said.