Plan for ground-mounted solar photovoltaic array at DPW complex, 1607 Jackson Road
The Town of Penfield has a goal of achieving long-term energy cost reductions and price predictability using clean, sustainable energy in ways that responsibly manage costs for Penfield taxpayers.
To this end, the Town of Penfield and its Energy and Environmental Energy Advisory Committee (EEAC) have been working with Larsen Engineering to design, fund, and implement a ground-mount solar photovoltaic (PV) array at the DPW complex at 1607 Jackson Road. The entire solar PV array will be fenced in, and solar panels will be attached to pile-driven equipment racks.
The solar array will consist of 3,648 solar modules (each 345 watts) driving 38 inverters. It is expected to generate 1.2 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy annually. The electricity produced will be directly connected to RG&E’s utility grid and is expected to offset approximately 75 percent of the Town of Penfield’s overall electrical usage at its main facilities: the town hall, community center, and DPW. This production is the equivalent of powering 120 households for one year.
Sunlight is a renewable energy resource. Solar PV devices convert sunlight into electrical energy even on cold or cloudy days. In contrast with electricity generated by fossil fuels, electricity generated by solar electric systems is sustainable and produces no noise, air, or water pollution.
Solar-sourced electricity, and the ability to lock in electricity costs over a period of time through a solar power purchase agreement (PPA), will reduce energy costs and save money. This project will provide power to the Town of Penfield at a fixed rate for the next 20 years.
What is a Power Purchase Agreement?
A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial agreement in which a developer arranges for the design, permitting, financing, and installation of a grid-connected solar energy system on a customer’s property.
The system is entirely designed, engineered, installed, and funded by developer. The host customer lowers its electricity costs because the developer sells the power generated to the host customer at a fixed rate that is typically lower than the local utility’s retail rate.
The customer and developer both benefit from the PPA. The customer benefits short- and long-term from lower, predictable electricity compared to electricity purchase directly from the grid. The developer benefits from income received from the sale of electricity and any tax credits or incentives generated from the system.
PPAs typically range from 10 to 25 years. Throughout the contract period, the developer is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the system. At the end of the PPA contract, the customer may opt to extend the PPA, buy the system from the developer and receive the direct benefit of the low-cost electricity, or have the developer remove the system.
In this case, the customer is the Town of Penfield, the site is the DPW complex at 1607 Jackson Road, the designer is Larsen Engineering, and the developer/provider is Solar City, a division of Tesla.
Larsen Engineers worked with the Town of Penfield to obtain historical electric billing data and property data to identify optimal locations for developing a solar project. Technical and economic parameters were considered for site evaluation.
Larsen visited Town properties in 2013 to view prospective solar PV developments locations. Using industry-best financial models, Larsen quantified the performance and economics of potential sites and proposed a solar array at the Jackson Road DPW.
Larsen Engineers submitted a “Solar Feasibility Study” to the Town of Penfield on February 26, 2014.
On May 21, 2014 the Town of Penfield hosted a public info meeting on the project and PPA. Public response to this presentation was supportive.
Larsen Engineers was identified as the engineer group to help navigate process (Larsen has done many projects in the area). http://www.larsenengineers.com/SolarEnergyProjects.asp
Fall 2015 PPA bid to marketplace.
The Town of Penfield received and reviewed proposals, named a developer, executed a PPA, and worked with RG&E on site and grid integration.
Construction begins June 2018.
Commissioning and testing expected August 2018.
Permission to operate granted by utility fall of 2018.
“Learn more about solar PV systems” link: https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/articles/solar-photovoltaic-technology-basics