Solar Farm Project Planned at West Road RC Club Site

Public input at the Tuesday, Oct. 24, Hudson Board of Selectmen meeting was centered around one agenda item, the proposal to add a solar farm to the old landfill property on West Road. 

It was explained by Town Engineer, Elvis Dhima, that they could use portions of the West Road Landfill site, to install solar panels, make money, and save money on the town’s electric bill.

“Due to many variables of the site and the permitting process, we followed qualifications-based selection process, and we received qualified submittals,” Dhima wrote in a memo to the Board of Selectmen. He said the committee, which was established by the Board of Selectmen, recommended Kearsarge Energy from Boston Mass., as “the best vendor for this project.” Dhima told the Board of Selectmen that the committee selected Kearsarge Energy, “based on the most revenue and savings for the town, experience and expertise on similar landfill projects.” He added that the town could save and make about $4.47 million for the 25 years of the contract, with a 15-year additional lease option available bringing that number up to $8.45 million. Dhima said they would essentially be using all the prime land at the landfill, which is about six or seven acres.

One of the concerns raised during the meeting was what it would mean for the Southern New Hampshire Radio Control Club, which currently uses the space and has used this space for the past 23 years. It was announced in August of 1999 that the RC Club had been granted use of the site following it being turned down by other recreation groups. As a non-profit, the RC Club has maintained the land for all those years at no cost to the town.  It was questioned if the club could share the space with the solar panels. “There is no sharing space,” Dhima said.

Dhima said the only area they could use potentially is what is currently being used for storage, however, the master plan points to potentially using the space to build a recycling center down the road. “I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not,” he said.

Selectmen, Bob Guessferd, stated that he and everyone else are sympathetic to the concerns by the club, however, they need to look out for the best interest of the town.

“We are tasked with doing what we believe is the will of the people of this town,” he said. He also thinks it should be sent to the voters to decide.

There was also debate about what work has been done at the site and when, along with what discussions or agreements may or may not have taken place. It was explained that they had a draft agreement that was drafted by the town in 2019, however, it was never signed or made official due to hiccups like the Covid-19 pandemic. Secretary, John Hayes, said they maintain the fields and have done a lot of work there. “We’ve put a lot of work and time into it to keep it that way,” he said.

It was ultimately decided to pick the vendor and have them begin discussions with the town, but it was decided to wait on sending the final warrant forward until more information can be gathered about the past and current agreements between the town and the club.

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