Solar Panel Facility Eyed At Former West Haven Landfill

The developer aims to construct a ground-mounted solar generating facility on two privately owned properties in West Haven.
By Vincent Salzo, Patch Staff | Oct 24, 2017 2:55 pm ET

Written by Michael P. Walsh

WEST HAVEN, CT — The West Haven City Council heard a proposal Monday night from the founder of a Branford-based manufacturer, distributor and developer of solar products to build an array of solar panels atop West Haven’s former landfill. The proposal, presented by SolarUS Inc. CEO Steven Elkin, aims to construct a ground-mounted solar generating facility on two privately owned properties on Spring Street.

Joseph A. Riccio Jr., the city’s commissioner of planning and development, confirmed that SolarUS has an option on 8 Spring St., 29.13 acres, and 2 Spring St., 12.94 acres, which are owned by Solid Waste Disposal Inc. of Connecticut. (To sign up for West Haven breaking news alerts and more, click here.)

According to Elkin’s written proposal, which he handed out to each council member, the city would off-take the energy generated by the solar panels and purchase the electricity they produce at a per-kilowatt-hour cost.

“The term of the Net-Metering Allocation will be 20 years with a starting Net-Meter Allocation agreement discount of 10 percent,” the proposal said.

Elkin estimated that the city would save $1.46 million in electrical costs over the 20 years.

During his 20-minute presentation, Elkin touted the benefits of solar energy in West Haven, including the revival of a “dead” site, generation of electrical savings and creation of jobs, as well as the ability to produce electricity locally.

He also praised solar energy’s positive impact on the environment by reducing the city’s greenhouse gases and contribution to global warming.

“The partnership we are trying to form with SolarUS will be a huge benefit to West Haven in both lowering our energy costs long term and reducing our carbon footprint,” Mayor Edward M. O’Brien said. “We want to transform a former landfill into something very positive that will not only save us money but work to modernize our infrastructure.”

Elkin’s 13-page proposal, which contained a layout rendering of the facility, said SolarUS would finance the design, engineering, permitting, procurement, construction, interconnection, operation and maintenance of the solar photovoltaic system.

Photovoltaic is the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials.

The proposal also said SolarUS would generate revenue from the energy produced on-site through the net meter allocation structure and the state Zero Emissions Renewable Energy Credit Program.

Riccio said the city and SolarUs are negotiating a memorandum of understanding that will outline the terms of an agreement between the two parties.

A due diligence period will follow, “during which time environmental and geo-technical issues will be studied,” according to Elkin’s proposal.

The council is expected to consider the MOU once it is finalized.

SolarUS is a producer and distributor of evacuated tube solar collectors and solar thermal products. SolarUS commercial and residential solar thermal systems feature innovative, technological advances to solar collectors and are suitable for both residential and commercial use.