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Green Committee misses deadline for solar array

Date: 12/19/2011

Dec. 19, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW — The Green Committee has decided that it will not be able to complete the request for proposals (RFP) process for an electricity generating photovoltaic array before the end of the year as hoped.

James Driscoll, chair of the Board of Selectmen and the Green Committee, confirmed to Reminder Publications that while pursuit of the project is ongoing, it will require a longer timetable than originally established.

“We are still planning on pursuing it, but as we got into it, we found that there is a very complex procurement process,” he said, adding he was “confident that it is going to happen.”

Driscoll explained that the committee originally set a goal for completion of the RFP by Dec. 31 in order to draw more competitive bids through incentives.

“The original intent was to be done by the end of the calendar year and we knew that was an aggressive timetable, but there are extra incentives for vendors where they would get a 30 percent return on their capital investment before the end of the year,” he said.

Driscoll and Town Accountant Thomas Caliento recently went before the School Committee with a pitch to include the controversial high school field lighting project in the solar energy RFP, which could result in the installation of solar panels on the roofs of school buildings, but would also allow the district to pay off the lights in smaller amounts over a longer period of time.

Driscoll acknowledged that the School Committee might have concerns about the new timetable, but said timing would not be an issue.

“We’re not going to rush through this and end up not getting what we want,” he said. “I know the School Committee’s concern was having the lights ready in time for fall sports and there is no danger of that not happening.”

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