EDITORIAL: Solar project a plus for Meriden

An agreement with a renewable energy developer that entails installing solar panel systems on the rooftops of Platt and Maloney high schools looks like a good move forward for the Meriden school district.

It’s hard to see the downside. There is no installation cost for the school district. That $2.4 million will be the responsibility of Davis Hill Development, a subsidiary of renewable energy investment company Skyview Ventures. Installation is expected to be complete by June of next year.

As the Record-Journal reported, funding in part takes advantage of state and federal incentives. Davis Hill’s Micah Brill, vice president of development and asset management, said the company applied through Connecticut’s Zero-Emission Renewable Energy Credits program.

The school district will pay a set rate of $0.059 a kilowatt-hour. There is an expected savings of $126,000 in energy costs over the first year of the 20-year agreement, with nearly $3.3 million in total expected savings.

That’s a significant long-term savings. Meriden now has roof-mounted solar panels at Israel Putnam Elementary School and Washington and Lincoln middle schools. Rob Kosienski, school board president, said the school district is “just starting to see a little bit of that savings now.”

“Hopefully with the high school projects we will see the same,” he said.

The trend toward solar energy is reflected in the history of Davis Hill, which since 2013 has developed 50 projects in Connecticut, many of them roof-mounted solar arrays on school and municipal buildings. The school district’s responsibility is in the rate set in the agreement, with the project, as Brill noted, developed, owned and operated by Davis Hill.

The promise of long-term savings makes renewable energy projects worth pursuing, and this particular arrangement between Meriden schools and Davis Hill can be seen as a plus for Meriden now and in the future. 

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