WALLINGFORD — Work is underway on a 16-megawatt solar panel field on town land behind the Wallingford Animal Shelter on Pent Road.
The panels will be installed over a portion of the former town landfill. They will provide power to Eversource Energy and United Illuminating.
The project is a partnership between the development firm Lendlease and NextEra Energy Resources. Lendlease received approval from the Town Council in 2018. The project could produce between $2.13 million and $3.12 million in tax revenue for the town over the life of the 20-year agreement.
“Brownfield development is always gratifying as it’s a great use of resources, bringing new life to otherwise unusable land,” said Matt Ulman, vice president of distributed generation for NextEra. “NextEra Energy Resources is pleased to have worked with Lendlease on the Wallingford solar project, which provides Connecticut with a source of clean, renewable energy and community tax benefits on brownfield land that previously offered only maintenance costs.”
Lendlease also agreed to an interconnection agreement with the town to cover the cost of maintaining three points where the panels will connect to the power grid. The town Electric Division will charge $3,000 in monthly operations and maintenance fees, which will increase by 2.5 percent every year.
Though the power is ultimately being sold to Eversource and UI, the power must first pass through the municipal electric grid, which will require upgrades, according to Public Utilities Director Richard Hendershot.
“We have to modify our facilities to accept this, we’re in the process of doing that. And we’ll have to put in some sophisticated metering,” Hendershot said.
The construction is in response to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection requiring that Eversource and UI incorporate more renewable energy sources.
“This project is unique and complex, but it demonstrates our commitment to developing quality, utility-scale solar projects that meet the individual needs of our customers,” said Craig Carson, general manager of Lendlease. “We’re proud to partner with NextEra Energy Resources on this project to see it through the next phases of the project’s lifecycle.”