HOLLISTON – The town is a step closer to placing solar panels on a long-out of service landfill on Marshall Street.
Twelve companies have responded to the town’s request for proposals calling for vendors interested in installing and maintaining the solar photovoltaic energy system on a 20-year lease.
The town received the proposals last week.
“We got a very robust response to our request for proposals, which is outstanding,” Town Administrator Jeff Ritter told the Daily News. “Right now, they are in the process of being evaluated.”
During spring Town Meeting, residents authorized the Board of Selectmen to enter a 20-year lease agreement with a solar panel company.
While the vote was a vital step, the town has been working through the process for months, Ritter explained.
In October, Ritter came up with the idea of putting solar panels in the area.
The landfill hasn’t been in use for about two decades, Ritter said. Since its closing, the landfill has been monitored and regularly tested by construction and engineering firm Kleinfelder Inc.
“The asset was sitting there and not really doing anything except draining the town’s funds for testing results,” Ritter said. “I looked at the site and saw the exposure of the site to the southeast, which is ideal, and I thought it would be an opportunity to look at.”
From there, Ritter applied for a $15,000 grant from the Department of Environmental Protection to hire a consultant. Shortly after, Beth Greenblatt, managing director of Beacon Solutions in Boston, was brought on to help the town go through the procurement process.
Of the landfill’s approximately 30 acres, Greenblatt estimates that the chosen vendor will be able to place panels on about 40 percent of it. It’s still too early to tell how many panels will be installed, as well as the solar system’s overall output of power, she said.
The town is taking advantage of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program as part of the project.
“The Smart Program provides compensation that helps pay down the overall debit service of the project and allows municipalities to ultimately buy the output of the generation at a lower cost,” Greenblatt said.
Through this program, Ritter said the town and the schools could see “significant” savings in their electrical bills. He declined to give exact numbers while the town reviews each of the proposals.
Ritter said, however, residents won’t directly see savings.
Assisting Ritter in evaluating the proposals, which is estimated to take weeks, are Selectman John Cronin, Finance Committee Chairman Ken Szajda, Fire Chief Michael Cassidy, Holliston Technology Director Chris Meo and Town Health Agent Scott Moles.