Easthampton energy contract would bring solar to PD, City Hall

Published: 7/28/2021 11:54:50 AM

EASTHAMPTON — Several energy changes may be coming to city infrastructure pending the approval of an energy service performance contract, which would increase solar energy usage and target air quality improvements in buildings.

At the moment, the city’s use of solar energy is “minimal,” said Mayor Nicole LaChapelle. If approved, the contract would increase the city’s use of solar energy, improve air quality in targeted buildings and bring revenue to the city, she said.

Over a 20-year period, LaChapelle anticipates that the city would save $2.4 million in deferred maintenance costs under the contract. If approved, the city could bond up to $6.4 million for the project. 

For the average homeowner, whose property is valued at around $274,000, the approved contract would add an extra $33 to taxes annually.

The plan calls for additions such as solar panel canopies over the parking lot of the Police Department, and for solar panels on City Hall. 

The city is working with Honeywell manufacturing and technology company to implement these energy changes and improve air quality in buildings, LaChapelle said.

Air quality “wasn’t a spending priority to address” initially, LaChapelle said, “but COVID-19 changed that.” 

LaChapelle presented the plan at a City Council Finance Subcommittee meeting last week. The proposal will have a public hearing on Sept. 1, and if approved, construction would likely begin in October.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.

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