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High atop Branfordís former landfill, this gazebo crowns Ecology Park, opened in Oct. 2014 for passive recreation use with breathtaking views of Long Island Sound and town center. Now, the town is pursuing potentially installing a cost-saving solar array on another portion of the 10-acre site.

High atop Branfordís former landfill, this gazebo crowns Ecology Park, opened in Oct. 2014 for passive recreation use with breathtaking views of Long Island Sound and town center. Now, the town is pursuing potentially installing a cost-saving solar array on another portion of the 10-acre site. (Photo courtesy Daniel McGowan )

Branford Wants Solar Array at Former Landfill

Published March 02, 2015

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The town has taken the first step to pursue a possible large-scale solar array installation at the former landfill; which could lead to savings for taxpayers.

The idea is an extension of Branford’s on-going efforts to reclaim 10 acres at the former town dump for uses benefiting the community. In October, 2014, Branford opened a public, passive recreation area at the site, Ecology Park.

In a statement released Feb. 27, First Selectman James B. Cosgrove announced the town has retained law firm Murtha Cullina to facilitate a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the solar project. The New Haven law firm will also help the town submit the solar project bid for possible selection by Eversource Energy (former CL&P) for purchase of renewable energy credits produced by the array. Also with assistance from Murtha Cullina, the town would contract with the project’s selected solar developer to provide for operation, maintenance and a power purchase agreements.

“The town has considered this initiative in the past, but it has never materialized,” said Cosgrove. “If successful, this project will be appropriate site development at the former landfill and generate significant savings to the taxpayer in the form of lower utility payments.”

In 2012, Branford’s Solid Waste Commission first shared research and findings on the potential for adding a “bright field” of power-providing solar panels at the former landfill, located off Tabor Drive. The commission has pointed to a southerly slope of the land as the best site for future solar array use.

The landfill received its last load of residential garbage in 1991 and began a slow transformation over the next decade. Cells were capped and converted. In Oct. 2014, the town cut the ribbon on Ecology Park.

Due to the scope of the solar array project, ranging from receiving local approvals to entering the auction process for potential acceptance by Eversource’s LREC/ZREC (Low Emission Renewable Energy Credit and Zero Emissions Energy Credit) program and being accepted into the state’s Municipal Virtual Net Metering Program, Cosgrove said hiring Murtha Cullina was the “most efficient option.”

“This is a very complicated and technical process and after a review of our options, I am confident that the selection of Murtha Cullina to lead this project is a sound one,” said Cosgrove. “We considered going this alone or directly with a power provider, but concluded that this is the best and most efficient option for pursuing the project.”

Cosgrove said the firm has significant experience in managing successful municipal solar array projects in Connecticut.

Attorney Paul R. Michaud, chair of Murtha Cullina’s Renewable Energy Practice Group, will lead the Branford project.

“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to assist the town in developing a meaningful project that will provide substantial utility savings,” said Michaud.


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