Library Board Considers Solar Project
Board votes to refer cost analysis to long-term financial committee.
The Montville Township Library is considering a solar project on the building's parking lot and will be tasking a long-term financial committee with determining whether the move would be cost-effective.
Mayor Tim Braden updated the board Monday on a Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting where the solar project, which includes installation of a solar field over the parking lot, was discussed. Braden said in order to install the solar field, a large amount of the parking lot would need to be dug up and he suggested the long-term financial committee evaluate whether the costs would outweigh the benefits. The intention is for the solar field to help reduce electricity costs for the library.
Board Trustee Robert Lefkowitz said that the library board has options when it comes to funding the project: they could pay for the project upfront or allow a vendor to come in and install the solar field but own and sell Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) that are generated from the panels. After a solar facility generates 1MWh, SREC energy credits produced there can be bought or sold. They are typically purchased by electric suppliers who are looking to fulfill their renewable energy standards as determined by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU). Over time, the sale of the credits by the third-party company reduces electricity costs for the host facility.
But Braden said the demand for SRECs has "plummeted" and that the payback to the library would take longer than in previous years.
Board Secretary Dave Dalia felt that since the project would be funded by the Montville Township Committee, whether fully expensed upfront or otherwise, the issue should be out of the hands of the Library Board.
"It's up to the township, it's taken up enough of our time," he said.
Braden said that while the project could be funded by the township, the entities should work together if the end result would be to cut costs.
"If we can provide electricity in this building, our highest user in this township, at a reduced rate, we have an obligation to do that," Braden said.