North Smithfield signs agreements with Energy Development Partners

North Smithfield signs agreements with Energy Development Partners

NORTH SMITHFIELD – The town has signed agreements with Energy Development Partners to purchase discounted electric power for municipal buildings and schools. The electricity will come from a 2.5 megawatt solar farm to be constructed at the edge of the former Landfill and Resource recovery site off Oxford Road.

The project takes advantage of a recent state law allowing “virtual net metering” for towns. Virtual net metering allows towns to use electricity from a source not directly connected to a town building without paying transmission costs.

North Smithfield is the first town in Rhode Island to take advantage of this option. Hamilton said it is part of a comprehensive energy strategy to lower costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She thanked school Supt. Stephen Lindberg and Town Planner Robert Ericson for sharing their energy knowledge in this strategy. She also thanked department heads and employees for their cooperation and support.

In 2010, North Smithfield began a $4 million investment in energy conservation using $530,000 in grants, $1,400,00 in reimbursements/rebates, and the balance in loans repaid with energy savings. The town received state and national recognition for its work. The Office of Energy Resources made North Smithfield the first Solarize RI town in the state, which brought more than $400,000 in state grants and federal rebates for residential and small commercial rooftop solar installations.

The town is also taking advantage of a recent state law allowing reduced-cost purchase of National Grid streetlights, which will then be converted to metered LED lamps. The streetlight purchase will save $30,000 in the first year.