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Warner officials research solar energy project

WARNER — Officials are giving serious consideration to investing in solar energy technology to pay the town's electricity bill.

Town Administrator Jim Bingham said several town officials took a "walk-around" last month with Jonathan Gregory of SunRay Solar, LLC of Concord.

The walk was the idea of the town's energy committee, he said.

Officials were looking for an area about half of the size of the town's soccer field, although the space does not necessarily need to be in that shape, he said.
"We were looking for enough town land in the right place for a solar array pointed to the optimal east-southeast direction," Bingham said.

They found what appears to be the optimal spot, in an area of space on one end of Bagley Field, the school's soccer field.
The proposed array would provide 260,000 kilowatt hours per year, enough to cover 10 town power meters.

The idea would be to provide electricity to 10 town buildings — likely to include the community center, town hall, police station, fire station, village precinct building, pump station and the highway department building.
The project would likely cost the town about $500,000, and town officials are looking at various ways of paying for it, likely through one to two years of financing, Bingham said.

The plan is for the project to pay for itself within five to seven years.
State and federal tax credits, as well as credits from the electricity utilities, would help defray the costs, "and the technology has become more affordable in recent years," he said.

"The goal is to be electrically self-sufficient," Bingham said."It would provide for our current needs, and our future needs. Who wouldn't want to go without having to pay electric bills?"

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