By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Grafton – At their April 12 meeting, Grafton selectmen moved to sign two energy company contracts.
Astrum Solar, dba/Direct Solar, had applied several months earlier for a contract to supply aggregate electricity savings to Grafton residents. The request for proposals had been done in January. Direct Solar was chosen as most competitive. It is offering a 10-year workmanship warranty and does business in 14 states and locally in a number of Massachusetts towns including Concord, Lexington and Sutton. Grafton will partner with Sutton on this contract and hopes to have 100 systems installed by year’s end.
Direct Solar is not a community-shared solar program, but rather, a group-purchasing of solar energy. It involves a tiered pricing structure which lowers the cost for everyone as more people sign up. It has been adopted by the Mass. Clean Energy Center as the Solarize Mass program in 2012; communities have run their own programs since 2013. The board voted 4-0 to sign the contract.
Direct Solar promises a net system cost of $12,650 from a retail cost of $24,375 based upon 6,600 kWh per year. The payback period is four to five years.
The board also voted unanimously to sign a contract with Peregrine Energy Group, also a power aggregate supplier. Peregrine will identify the best cost supplier, provide community education and outreach, and launch the program for Grafton.