West Tisbury throws the switch on landfill solar array

Photo by Michael Cummo

The West Tisbury landfill solar voltaic project went online last week after delays pushed the completion date beyond the June 30 original estimate. The Cape and Vineyard Electrical Cooperative (CVEC) built the solar array on approximately six acres of the capped town landfill at no cost to the town, and will run the facility for 20 years in exchange for tax breaks and incentives from the state. The array is expected to produce more power than is used by town buildings and streetlights, and may save the town between $30,000 and $40,000 per year in electrical costs, according to pre-construction estimates.

Selectmen, at their meeting on Jan. 7, gave a go-ahead to town administrator Jennifer Rand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a date to be set.

Selectmen also approved town treasurer Kathy Logue’s request to allow town landowners to receive their tax bills electronically if they chose. West Tisbury taxpayers already have the option to pay online. The new option will be available on the tax collector’s page on the town website.

In other town business, selectmen decided to appoint a use/needs committee to study the highway department’s proposal to either renovate or replace the Old Courthouse Road building that is now used to store some of the department’s equipment.

Local civil engineer Kent Healy, after consulting with new West Tisbury building inspector Joseph Tierney, gave ballpark figures for the work in excess of $250,000 for renovation work and $300,000 for replacing the 150-year-old building with a steel structure. Selectmen Richard Knabel and Cynthia Mitchell, after some quick math, adding up the costs of a site development and possible demolition, agreed that a working number for total cost would no doubt be closer to $500,000, and that it would take a year before the project could be studied, designed, and brought before a town meeting for approval.

Mr. Knabel volunteered to help draft the committee.