WILTON — At the request of town board members, Comptroller Jeffrey Reale is researching the means by which “community solar” arrays can be installed for more energy efficiency in Wilton.
“The town is very interested in joining in on a project that is both ‘clean energy’ and can save the town money in the future,” Reale wrote on April 11 to Jeffrey Conrad, president of the advisory firm Solomon Energy.
Town officials are considering the construction of an additional building at their Traver Road complex, so Reale explained in his letter that he “can envision our electricity usage going up considerably over the next two years.”
At the monthly Wilton Town Board meeting on April 6, Reale was asked by Councilwoman Joanne Klepetar and Supervisor Arthur Johnson about his previous attempts to study the installation of solar panels on town property.
“It’s still worth pursuing,” Reale responded, noting how the size of any solar array must be sufficiently large enough to qualify for state funding.
Conrad at Solomon Energy wrote to Reale that the state Public Service Commission “made significant adjustments to the crediting aspects of solar which will once again make projects financially viable for customers in the state.”
Details should be finalized by “late summer or early fall,” added Conrad.
Still, once solar panels are installed, some municipalities and even solar companies are “having a hard time” connecting to the electricity grid, Reale said.
He cited as an example the Town of Halfmoon, which was awarded a grant in 2014 to install a large solar array at a water-treatment plant but has been unable to supply the electricity generated as originally planned.
Halfmoon Supervisor Kevin Tollisen did not return a request for comment.
“You’re at the mercy of National Grid,” Reale said. “They don’t connect it to the grid so you can’t take advantage of it.”