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Town solar lease agreement signed

Richard D. L. Fulton

(12/16) The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance at their December 3 meeting that ratifies a lease agreement with a solar energy corporation.

The lease agreement between the Town of Emmitsburg and the UGI Development Company, the company who will be operating the solar power installation to be located on the town sewer treatment plant site on Creamery Road, was signed on December 11 following the approval of the ordinance.

The lease itself was actually approved by the Board of Commissioners at their September 23 meeting, but town Attorney John Clapp, who had reviewed the lease, felt that it would be appropriate to create an ordinance to acknowledge the lease terms.

In the past, other municipalities that had established long-term leases were successfully challenged at later times, primarily because the leases had not been sanctioned through the establishment of an ordinance.

The lease establishes an agreement between the town and UGI to operate the solar facility for a period of 20 years, renewable at the end of the lease for another five years. The lease does provide for "opt out" escape clauses for both parties for specified reasons.

The amount for the lease is a one-time payment of $100, since the facility will be providing the town with a percentage of the overall energy production.

Jack Copus, director of business development at Rockville-based Standard Solar, previously presented an overview of the project to the town Board of Commissioners at their September 3 meeting, regarding the specifics of the proposed project.

Standard Solar was appointed by the town as the project EPC (engineer-procurement-construct manager) through a previously held competitive bidding process.

As the project EPC, Copus stated at the September 3 briefing, "We helped developed this project as far as its current form. We will do the engineering, the procurement, the construction, and we’ll also operate and maintain the array once it’s up and running."

"We have developed a 1.1 megawatt ground-mount which is going to be at Creamery Road at the existing wastewater treatment facility," Copus told the board. "It is estimated to produce about 1,400 megawatt hours on the first year, which is 1,425,000 kilowatt hours."

"The economics of this project for phase one, the way we’ve designed it and analyzing the current load for 20 meters throughout town, we’ll be able to provide electricity for about 86 percent of the town’s needs," the project manager stated.

Work has already commenced on the site and the first phase is scheduled for completion this month.

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