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RANSOM TWP. — Township supervisors are amid preliminary discussions about a potential project that would bring in $450,000 over a 20-year period while saving money for residents on their electric bills.

Talk at the board of supervisors meeting Monday, July 1 centered around the proposal to build a community solar array. The municipality is considering entering a 20-year lease agreement with SGC Power, based in Elkridge, Maryland. The array would sit on the old DeNaples Quarry property between Coxton Road and Lower Narrows Road. The inverter, which collects and turns DC current into AC current, would sit closer to Main Street.

The company has a three-year development frame.

Gentry Rouse, a developer from SGC Power, spoke at the board meeting about the benefits of solar energy including the offset of energy costs to township residents.

Rouse explained the project would come at no cost to tax-payers.

“Ransom Township will simply act as the host for the solar array,” he said. “We build it and maintain the property over the course of the lease – everything down to cutting the grass.”

Should the township enter the agreement, after SGC Power builds the solar array, local residents and businesses would be able to sign up for the energy produced from the solar panels.

SGC Power maintains an optimally sited solar array in each client’s utility territory. This delivers electric power to the local grid. Local and regional participants receive credits directly on their electric bill for the solar power produced.

The proposal, however, doesn’t come without its share of controversy. At the board meeting, residents asked questions regarding depreciation in property value, funding for construction and a time frame for the project.

Regarding depreciation in property value, Rouse said he “couldn’t make one claim or the other.”

Rouse explained the projects are funded through private inequities. SGC Power sells the construction bill to private investors, who then earn a percentage over the course of the lease.

If Ransom Township agrees to the 20-year lease from SGC Power, the project could still take upwards of five years before the development can begin.

“There are a number of hurdles to cross, said Rouse. Things we can go into at a later time, if both sides decide it’s the right fit.”

When asked about the time frame for the project, township solicitor Edmund Scacchitti responded, “I just want people to know it’s not happening any time soon. There’s a lot that has to be considered.”

Scacchitti stressed the current discussions with SGC Power are “strictly preliminary.”

Contact the writer: rcox@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100; ext. 3005