County To Hear From Companies On Possible Solar Field

BERLIN – The Worcester County Commissioners opted to postpone a presentation from an energy consulting firm so that it would coincide with a similar presentation later this month.

Though the commissioners were scheduled to hear on Tuesday from representatives of CQI Associates, an energy management consultant, at the suggestion of Commissioner Joe Mitrecic they decided to table the matter. Mitrecic said that because another solar company was going to present a proposal at the commissioners’ next meeting, the information from CQI should wait until then.

“We have a group coming, interested in doing a solar system,” he said. “Today’s presentation could sway us one way or the other. I don’t think that would be fair.”

Though the commissioners voted in favor of Mitrecic’s motion to table the presentation until July 21, Sonny Bloxom, the county’s attorney, advised them to make sure they heard from CQI before they entertained any proposals regarding solar systems.

“This presentation has a lot of background information you need to know,” he said. “I think you need to hear this before or in conjunction with some contractor giving you a proposal.”

According to the packet provided to the media, CQI was to give a presentation detailing the benefits of solar power, the regulations associated with it and the financial incentives available. The company’s presentation would also have touched on how the county could work with private developers to bring a solar system to Worcester County.

Commissioner Diana Purnell spoke in favor of CQI Associates going forward with a presentation Tuesday.

“We need to hear all sides before a decision is made,” she said. “Why not now? It gives you a benchmark.”

Nevertheless the commissioners agreed to reschedule the presentation. On Wednesday, Commissioner Jim Bunting confirmed that officials would hear from the consulting firm CQI Associates as well as from another company interested in actually building a solar system in Worcester at the next commissioners meeting.

“The company we’re going to hear from is the first one that’s put something on the table,” Bunting said.

He said the company was interested in building a solar system in the southern end. As proposed, the solar field would provide energy to the local power company and the county with energy for its facilities at a low rate, according to Bunting.