Easy being green in Fairfield
We hate to disagree with Kermit the frog, but it really is pretty “easy being green” in Fairfield these days.
The Town of Fairfield’s Sustainable Fairfield Task Force will hold a public, informational meeting April 3 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Roger Ludlowe Middle School cafateria, 689 Unquowa Road, to introduce pending proposals to construct carports topped with solar panels in the parking lots of Burr Elementary, Roger Ludlowe Middle, and Stratfield Elementary schools.
If approved by the Board of Education and Board of Selectmen, the solar carport project would be completed this summer. Once completed, the carports would produce electricity accounting for about 20 percent of the schools’ electricity needs. Over the next 20 years, the electricity savings from the carports would exceed a half million dollars and could be more than $1.2 million, depending on how much electricity prices increase over that time.
And Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC has completed a milestone solar system for the Town of Fairfield. The new solar array at Fairfield Woods Middle School becomes the 30th solar system to power the town’s buildings. The latest project follows seven previous municipal solar installations completed by Greenskies for the town.
“The new solar installation at Fairfield Woods Middle School provides clean and renewable energy for a healthier environment and, at the same time, saves taxpayers’ dollars,” said First Selectman Mike Tetreau. “We are moving our town toward a more sustainable and energy efficient future. Fairfield will produce — in just this year alone — an estimated 6,000,000 kWh from the 30 solar installations on various town and school buildings which will improve our quality of life and save tax dollars for our residents.”
We’re not sure how much money the town will actually save through its solar initiatives, but “renewable energy” programs are certainly popular these days.
We’ve all received phone calls and visits lately from representatives of solar energy companies, spreading the word about their “no cost” programs.
The state of Connecticut is backing these efforts, with solar rebate programs, low interest loans, tax exemptions for renewable energy equipment, and tax credits.
The federal government also provides some significant incentives to help the Americans go solar. The federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), one of the most significant subsidies for solar, was recently extended. This rebate is worth 30 percent of the system cost, and will be deducted from your federal income tax. The ITC applies only to those who buy their system outright (either with a cash purchase or solar loan like the Energy Conservation Loan), and that you must have enough income for the tax credit to be worthwhile.
You have to be careful these days when someone calls you on the phone or comes to your doorstep and tells you, in effect, have I got a great deal for you.
And individual homeowners have to do some homework, figuring out whether “going solar” will benefit them in their wallets.
But aside from any monetary benefits, solar energy is certainly the “green” alternative to “dirty” fuels like oil, as the Town of Fairfield has recognized. And while we can’t be sure how long the world’s oil reserves will last, we can be pretty sure the sun will keep shining for the next few billion years.
Maybe it’s easy being green after all.