The Morris County Improvement Authority held a lengthy public information and question-and-answer session last night in Morristown, providing a detailed analysis of its preliminary findings on the viability of various unbuilt solar sites in the county.
|Mennen Sports Arena Solar Panels|
At the nearly four-hour session attended by some three-dozen residents and non-residents of the county, MCIA Counsel Matthew Jessup and Thomas Brys of Matrix New World Engineering, the county’s consultant on solar projects, focused on potential sites that could be built – if approved by the freeholders – with a specific and frank analysis of the fiscal viability of each of 15 potential sites.
Each unbuilt renewable energy site has been reviewed in terms of its long-term potential to generate revenue to help offset financial losses suffered in the county’s previous solar endeavor, and its potential to reduce energy costs for each local government entity (school district, municipal or county buildings, etc…) where solar panels would be installed.
“Contrary to what Sheriff Rochford was telling people on his robo-calls to county residents over the weekend, the goal of our current solar or renewable energy project review is to minimize future potential financial exposure for our taxpayers, to help reimburse them for past losses, and to ensure that any future steps we take are fiscally sound,’’ said Freeholder David Scapicchio.
“While the solar program bonds were issued in 2010 and 2011 by a prior freeholder board, we have a fiduciary responsibility to Morris County taxpayers regardless of our prior misgivings,’’ said Freeholder John Krickus.
“Our primary focus now is damage control, minimizing the losses the county will incur. The county faces potential additional losses depending on the market value of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs),” he said.
However, due to a variety of factors – including a legal battle between renewable energy program’s developer and its contractor — the county has incurred and faces future financial losses, and renewable energy projects at 13 of
the originally scheduled sites have not yet been constructed.
The county, with the assistance of the MCIA, is now undertaking a process to determine the viability of moving ahead with the unbuilt sites, with a primary emphasis on construction and financial viability. These sites consist of facilities owned by Morris County, municipalities and boards of education located within Morris County.