Chilmark will contract with the local energy cooperative Vineyard Power to build the town’s first solar array.
Pending final approval from town counsel, the Chilmark selectmen Tuesday voted to approve a contract for about 530 solar panels at the town landfill off Tabor House Road. The 173-kilowatt system is planned to produce up to 215,000 kilowatt hours a year, enough energy to power the town buildings.
The project will cost $1.25 million to build and is being financed by an unnamed Chilmark resident.
The array will allow the town to reduce electricity costs annually by 12 per cent, selectman Bill Rossi said.
“At the end of the day we don’t have any liability or expense, it’s all on the upside,” Mr. Rossi said.
The agreement is similar to one in Aquinnah, where Vineyard Power completed installation of a 50-kilowatt system at the town landfill in January.
Vineyard Power will lease land at the Tabor House Road landfill for $8,000 a year. The energy cooperative will own the solar array for the first 10 years, after which the town will have the option to purchase the array from Vineyard Power at fair market value or extend the agreement for up to 15 more years. The panels are expected to last up to 25 years.
Selectman Warren Doty, a former Vineyard Power board member, abstained from the discussion.
In other business, the selectmen discussed ongoing contract negotiations between the up-Island towns and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) for the use of two LUCAS chest compression machines, specialized equipment for performing CPR. The tribe received a grant to purchase the equipment, which is housed at tribal headquarters in Aquinnah. The plan calls for the equipment to be loaned to the Tri-Town Ambulance Service, which serves the three up-Island towns.
A draft contract for use of the machines has been revised multiple times over the past few months. Aquinnah signed off on the contract last week. Chilmark selectmen and their town counsel are still working on language issues. Selectmen said they would take the matter up again in two weeks.