Delayed Island solar projects in two towns get a jump start

The Aquinnah solar array over the capped town land fill is similar to the proposed photovoltaic projects in Tisbury and West Tisbury. — Photo courtesy the South Mountai

The future for photovoltaic (PV) projects in Tisbury and West Tisbury looks brighter following an announcement Friday from the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CVEC) that the second round of its photovoltaic initiative, delayed when a contractor went out of business, will resume construction shortly.

Broadway Electric, the company contracted to construct the two sets of solar panels on the Island and 17 others on the Cape went out of business in January.

The Friday announcement followed an agreement with G & S Solar Installers LLC of New York, a project financier who will contract with Fischbach & Moore Electric Group, LLC of Boston, and other local contractors and engineers to perform the actual building of the systems, according to a CVEC press release.

“I am feeling a sense of relief,” CVEC special projects coordinator Liz Argo said in a phone conversation with The Times. She could not give a startup date for the construction, but she said that work will not begin until G & S posts a liability bond, which they are expected to do on Friday.

Ms. Argo said an important element in the financial viability of the projects is the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ decision to grant an extension of at least an additional 30 days to the required completion date in order to qualify for the Massachusetts Solar Carve-Out program, a market-based incentive program to encourage solar photovoltaic production. The original deadline was June 30, 2014.

West Tisbury selectmen raised questions at two meetings last month about whether there would be enough time to complete the project, planned for the old town dump, before the expiration date of the state credit program.

“I am quite heartened by the announcement,” West Tisbury selectman Cynthia Mitchell said. “There have been weeks where we didn’t know what was going to happen. This is great. The permitting is in order. Hopefully, there will be enough time to complete the project.”