County-Wide Solar Program
Sussex County is pleased to announce the launch of its first County - wide solar program for the benefit of municipalities, school districts, local authorities and districts within the County.
TO: All local and regional governments in Sussex County
FROM: John H. Eskilson, Sussex County Administrator
RE: County-Wide Solar Program
DATE: March 17, 2011
Sussex County is pleased to announce the launch of its first County – wide solar program for the benefit of municipalities, school districts, local authorities and districts within the County. The program will be explained by the County’s consulting team at 2 group meetings to be held at the County Administrative Center in Newton (One Spring Street). One meeting will be for municipalities and local authorities and districts, and the other will be held for school districts. If for whatever reason you cannot make the one meeting, please feel free to attend the other. Here are the dates:
Municipal Meeting: April 6, 2011 at 6:00 p.m.
School District Meeting: April 7, 2011 at 6:00 p.m.
The Freeholders have agreed to provide the financing through the Morris County Improvement Authority (MCIA) and Sussex County will provide its guaranty for the Program to lower program costs and maximize benefits to the participating local governments. The repayment of the MCIA bonds, guaranteed by Sussex County, to fund the program is NOT being passed on to the participating local governments, but rather to a competitively selected, turnkey private solar developer. So yes you read correctly, if your facilities are eligible, you will get solar panels for no capital cost.
All local governments are eligible to provide information to see if their facilities (building roofs, carport canopies, ground mount solar panels) meet the minimum program requirements of roof age and quality, sun access, size, etc. One or more pools of facilities across multiple communities will then be grouped together, financed by MCIA with the County’s backing, and installed by a single solar developer over the course of approximately one year from the expected closing of this transaction at the beginning of the 4th quarter of this year.
This program is shared services at its best, helping the State meet its Energy Master Plan goal of 30% renewable energy sources by 2020, and allowing local government to save operating budget dollars directly against the 2% tax levy cap. Sussex County is moving quickly now that the program has been proven in other counties, including neighboring Morris and Somerset. Of course final savings depend on a number of factors including interest rates, but the smallest percentage of savings from these other programs has been 35% on electricity no longer required to be purchased from the local utility.
We will have forms for local governments to fill out identifying their facilities, and these forms will be posted on the Sussex County website. The details of the program will be explained at these group meetings. On behalf of the Freeholders, we look forward to seeing you there. Cathy Williams of my office will be following up regarding attendance, so please let her know if you can make either meeting (973-579-0250).
Photograph used with permission of of KG Companies (kgcompanies.com)