Solar project sees shade again
by Lauren Harkawik
Mar 28, 2018 | 1908 views | 0 0 comments | 85 85 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DOVER - It appears the brakes have been pumped again for the solar group Green Lantern and the town of Dover. In the latest cause for pause, Green Lantern’s director of project development, Ralph Meima, said at Tuesday’s Dover Selectboard meeting that Green Lantern has become aware that its lease agreement contract may not be as hearty as it needs to be.

“The bigger context is that up until pretty recently, only three solar arrays have been done on landfills in Vermont, and they’ve been much larger projects than what we’ve been discussing,” said Meima. “So the precedent up until this point for the way the leases looked and the way the insurance was handled, the way liability has been dealt with and so forth, has just been these few really, really big projects. But what we’ve learned, based on the leases that have been signed for those projects, is that our lease needs to be updated with some language that deals with insurance, liability, and indemnification that’s not there now.”

Meima first proposed a feasibility study on a solar array on Dover’s capped landfill in August. In October, he asked the board to enter into lease option agreement negotiations with Green Lantern, which the board agreed to. In December, Meima said the feasibility study had been completed and that Green Lantern had found the site suitable for a 150 kW array. He requested that the board go into lease negotiations with Green Lantern, which the board agreed to.

But in January, after hearing concerns from Wayne Estey, a resident who is also the town’s zoning administrator, the board got cold feet and decided to put an RFP out for use of the site.

Two weeks later, the board reneged on the RFP, with chair Josh Cohen saying the board had failed to realize the town had already signed an exclusivity option with Green Lantern.

On Tuesday, Cohen said he was waiting to hear back from the town’s attorney about the lease agreement between Dover and Green Lantern, but Meima said it may be best to wait.

“We will need to pull it back and work on it,” said Meima. “At the moment, we have a project underway on the Cambridge landfill and we’ve beefed up the lease for them, and it’s now going by their selectboard and their town attorney, and some bankers are looking at it. So we figure the best thing to do is to wait and see what comes out of that and bring the results to you.”

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