City's effort earns free solar energy

MILFORD, CONNECTICUT - The city and its residents' commitment to clean energy have resulted in the free installation of 20 solar panels atop the Milford Lisman Landing Marina.

Typically, a project of that magnitude can cost $40,000, but the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund paid for the project. The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund hosted a dedication ceremony at Lisman Landing.

"This started two years ago when Milford committed to its clean energy program," said Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. Milford became a Connecticut Clean Energy Community in December 2005 when it pledged to have 20 percent of its energy come from clean energy sources by 2010. More than 200 residents and businesses have signed up to join the Connecticut Clean Energy Opti ns program. Richetelli noted that Milford was just the third community in the state to sign up for the program.

New Haven and Portland were the first communities to make the pledge. The program allows cities and town to earn a solar photovoltaic system for their communities.

Municipalities must commit to the 20 percent by 2010 clean energy campaign, sign up local residents and businesses and commit to allocate 100 percent of the electricity cost savings resulting from the installation of the clean energy system to additional town purchases of clean energy. Richetelli credited U.S. Housing and Urban Development Block Grant Coordinator Thomas Ivers and members of the Environmental Concerns Coalition led by its president, Ann Berman, for spearheading the project.

"Today, we're showing off some of the benefits of this program," Richetelli said. Ivers said the clean energy campaign began simply enough by having a few dedicated residents raise awareness. "The citizens of Milford stepped up to the plate," Ivers said. He said the city needs another 85 residents or businesses to sign up to receive even more free solar energy. Robert Wall, director of market initiatives for CCEF, said Milford is a leader in the state when it comes to committing to clean energy. He said after Milford became the third community to make the pledge, another 46 followed suit. "This is the third ribbon cutting ceremony and every one has been sunny.

This may be a little karma that we're doing a good thing," said Keri Enright, state program director for Smart-Power.


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