SOMERSET — In search of a cost-effective and environmentally conscious alternative to powering Somerset Berkley Regional High School next year, the regional school committee voted unanimously in favor of entering into an agreement with solar energy service provider, Nexamp.
The high school is heat efficient, but not as electrically efficient as the old high school had been, explained Lindsey Albernaz, director of business and finance, at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Installing solar panels on the roof of the high school to alleviate electrical costs is a solution that has gained popularity among board members.
According to recent calculations, a new solar initiative with Nexamp includes an 18.5 percent discount, and would save 8 cents per kilowatt-hour. Over the span of a 20-year agreement, $27,000 savings are expected in total.
“The only reservation I have about this is that technology is developing so fast. We don’t want to be locked in on our electrical services for a 20-year agreement,” said Richard Pierce, chair of the Somerset Berkley Regional School Committee. Retaining the value of the credits earned in Nexamp’s discount over the course of the long-term agreement spiked concern as well.
A Nexamp representative present at the meeting explained that entering into long-term agreements ensures a long-term revenue stream, which is eligible for cost-effective benefits.
“The way we structure this is a discount. We offer municipalities or public entities a very low electrical cost. The reality is a long-term contract, and we are obligated to meet the terms of the agreement as well. If either party is affected adversely by a regulatory change, they have the opportunity to negotiate that,” added the representative.
Details of the agreement with Nexamp are set to go into effect at the beginning of the next fiscal year.