Leverett seeks solar farm proposals

LEVERETT — The town has put out a request for proposals from solar energy developers interested in designing and building a pole-mounted solar farm near the town’s Public Safety Complex.

The system would produce an estimated 15 kilowatts of energy and would be installed at one of two locations: on a south-facing slope between the Public Safety Complex and Leverett Elementary School or in the field between the school and the Leverett Library.

According to Town Administrator Marjorie McGinnis, the project is expected to cost $70,000 to $80,000. The proposals will be due Sept. 5.

McGinnis said the estimate is based on a similar project in Shutesbury which cost $72,000. Money for the project comes from a $138,750 grant awarded to the town through the Massachusetts Green Communities Act, which helps eligible communities promote energy efficiency and build renewable energy facilities.

Leverett is one of 110 communities in the state that have earned “green community” designations. In addition to the solar energy project, the town has also used funding from the grant to install energy-efficient lighting in Town Hall, in the safety complex and in library buildings.

McGinnis said developers interested in the solar project will be given the flexibility to determine how the system will be designed, which site to build it on and how the energy will be used. She said, however, she expects the solar power will offset the energy needs of the Public Safety Complex or the elementary school.

“The library is also a possibility, but my hunch is that the school and safety complex are more attractive,” she said. “It will be great to offset our electricity usage through solar, both for environmental and financial reasons.”

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