April 12 2017
Selectmen Discuss Proposal for Solar Panels on Burlington Ice Palace
By: Rich Hosford
The Burlington Board of Selectmen discussed a proposal to have solar panels placed on the roof of the Burlington Ice Palace during the meeting on Monday night.
Town Administrator John Petrin said the FMC Ice Sports, the private corporation that leases the Ice Palace from the town, has worked out a proposed deal with a third-party provider to install the panels. FMC Ice Sports manages the facility and pays all utility bills.
Petrin said FMC would cover the cost of the installation, which would come to approximately $335,000, and expects to recoup the cost in 10 years. FMC currently has a lease agreement with the town until 2029.
Because the town owns the facility, any decision to alter the building or add anything to it must be approved by the Board of Selectmen.
Though an engineer said the roof of the Ice Palace wouldn’t be damaged by installing solar panels, there is the question of what happens when they no longer work.
“One concern is what happens to panels then they are no longer effective,” Board Chairman Chris Hartling said.
Petrin agreed, adding that there were a few things to consider before agreeing to the project.
“I just don’t want the town to be left holding the bag at the end,” he said. “They just lease it and I want to make sure we’re covered.”
Petrin added that because the town owns the building it should also see some of the benefits of the solar panels.
“What about the money on the table, who receives a portion of that?” he asked. “I want to make sure the town receives a proper portion of that savings.”
The planning for the project is still in early days. Petrin said the only vote the board was being asked to take was whether the town should continue discussing the matter.
The board voted 4-0-0 to have the town continue discussing the project.