Solar Electricity: A Good Deal for North Kingstown

Question 2 on the November 5 ballot asks voters if the Town of North Kingstown should lease land to a developer for a public/private partnership for solar electricity generation. This is in line with the town’s goals of reducing electricity costs, generating income from idle properties, and promoting renewable energy.

The project, developed through the town’s Renewable Energy Committee (REC), will produce enough energy to cover the electricity consumption of all town government operations. The solar energy developer will cover the costs of equipment, installation and maintenance, will lease the land under the panels from the town and will pay property tax. This will be done by developing two underutilized town parcels, one of which is a closed landfill, the other mostly cleared land surrounding one of the town’s wellheads. Neither site has significant forest or other
important vegetation.

Former REC and past Town Council member Kevin Maloney, talking about the outcome of the REC study, said “I am very pleased with the results. These are the best two town sites and a highly endorsed developer. Unlike the Saunderstown Road issues, both areas are sparsely vegetated so there should be minimal tree removal and in sparsely populated areas where hopefully no neighborhoods should be affected. Both sites are also very close to substations and the power grid.”

The ballot question asks voters for permission to enter into a 25-year lease, which roughly matches the 25- to 30-year life expectancy of solar installations. Under the State’s Remote Net Metering program, the town will be credited for the electricity produced and will share the savings with the developer.

Question 2 will help reduce the Town’s electricity costs and produce income from idle property while providing clean, renewable energy for many years.

Please vote YES on Question 2.

See more about the solar leases here.

Who is DBVW?

Wondering about the team behind the design for restoring and expanding the historic 1888 Town Hall?  The award-winning consultants hired by the Town of North Kingstown to conduct the Town Hall feasibility study, DBVW Architects (DBVW), have a long history of working with communities on historic structures, including municipal buildings.

During their twenty-five years in business, their list of awards, many for historic preservation, has continued to grow.  Among the entities that have recognized DBVW with awards are:  Preserve Rhode Island, Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC), Providence Preservation Society, GrowSmart Rhode Island, American Institute of Architects Rhode Island, Massachusetts Historical Commission, Preservation Massachusetts, and Newport Restoration Foundation.

The DBVW team, showing off their work in another historic structure.

DBVW’s expertise and professionalism were hailed by Town Manager Ralph Mollis during the July 9, 2018, Town Council meeting, where he stated:

“This process began back in January [2018] when we interviewed various firms for this job. We had a lot of good firms put in proposals but, I have to say, that it’s obvious from the process and over these past months of working with them that we definitely made the right choice for this particular process.”

In the presentation that followed, Michael Viveiros, the ‘V’ in DBVW, explained how their prime recommendation was developed, through a multi-step process that included: evaluating existing conditions, determining needs (space requirements), preparing concepts, development of a budget and cost estimates for the proposed work.

An in-depth discussion between DBVW and the Town Council was held on the budget and cost estimates for the prime recommendation. DBVW provided detailed information regarding projected costs, including escalation and contingencies.

DBVW is no stranger to developing appropriate design solutions for projects involving the renovation and preservation of historic structures, combining them with new construction elements. When Plymouth MA, “America’s Home Town”, sought to use an 1820 structure as the centerpiece of a state-of-the-art town hall, DBVW was hired to come up with the plan and provide oversight of the project.  Upon completion of the project, the Plymouth Town Manager offered this resounding endorsement:

“…I could not be more pleased with the creativity, effectiveness, and thoughtful design and oversight by the firm…They not only respected the historic nature of this Town, the also designed a facility that is a focal point of our downtown area.”

North Kingstown is at a crossroads. It can continue to occupy temporary modular buildings which will require additional funding, or create a state-of-the-art, modern facility utilizing our iconic 1888 Town Hall as a working centerpiece. Not only is it a building that honors our town’s rich history but we already own it, too.