NATICK - While town officials have had success installing solar panels on municipal buildings, officials are now taking advantage of projects that are not on municipal land but are still slated to save the town money.
Selectmen on Tuesday approved 20-year agreements with Omni Navitas related to solar power canopies planned to be installed above parking lots at the West Natick MBTA station and a commercial building at 680 Worcester Road in Framingham.
Through the virtual net metering initiative, a solar developer builds the arrays at no cost to the town. Electricity goes to the grid. Natick pays for electricity the systems generate and receives net metering credits that help the town pay its electricity bills, according to Sustainability Coordinator Jillian Wilson-Martin.
The town anticipates saving about $110,000 per year as a result of the Omni Navitas projects, a memo from Wilson-Martin said.
"It's a potential for big savings with really no headaches for the town," Wilson-Martin said.
The virtual net metering is similar to how the town achieves savings from solar panels installed on municipal buildings. But, the arrays are not on town property, she said.
The MBTA tapped Omni Navitas to install solar power systems at 37 MBTA parking lots or garages, according to a press release.
Meanwhile, Natick officials hope new solar panels installed on the roof of the DPW/ice rink facility and Lilja Elementary School will be turned on by the end of the month. Those systems are expected to save the town about $125,000 per year, Wilson-Martin said.
And the Planning Board is in the middle of reviewing a proposal to install solar canopies at parking lots by the high school, Memorial Field and the Community-Senior Center. The board expects to review the project again on Jan. 18.
Officials are also looking into potentially sharing some savings with low income residents, Wilson-Martin said.
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