Paul Schutt: Solar questions for Breckenridge town council
The following list of questions need to be answered by the Breckenridge Town Council. Most of us want to see more use of solar energy in Summit County. The real question is the process to be followed and the transparency of the local government actions. Thus I think these questions should be answered before the current project is sited and approved.
1. Why were there no open hearings for public comment before the town council voted approval and sent the proposal to the planning commission? Why have there been no notices sent to affected landowners regarding this major project that will affect their property values?
2. Where is the Environmental Impact Statement for this proposed project and why has it not been posted for public review?
3. What other contractors were solicited for proposals on this project? If others were contacted, why have their proposals not been given consideration by our town council? Or by the planning board? Or made public?
4. If electric energy cost savings are the goal, what other proposals were considered? Was Xcel contacted for a counter-proposal or asked for a better electric rate for the town? Certainly Xcel may wish to submit a counter proposal or offer lower rates in the future.
5, Why were local contractors, such as Innovative Energy on Airport Road, not asked for proposals? Innovative Energy has 15 years of solar experience in Breckenridge and is a solid Summit County local contractor.
6. What have we learned about the proposed contractor? We know it is a very small company with a staff of at least two people and a fancy website claiming they are building a solar system for the Town of Breckenridge. Do we know how they will pay for this project? Do we know anything about their financial stability? Do we know anything about their previous solar installations? Have we done any due diligence about their ability to handle the scope and size of this project? What if they go bankrupt part way through the construction process? Is the town then stuck with an eyesore and a big financial liability?
7. Are the economic projections of the proposed savings on electric cost based on the current schedule of solar credits from Xcel? Those credits have just been suspended and are now being debated by the Colorado PUC, so the size of any such credits over the next six years is very much in doubt.
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