Letter to the Editor from members of the FDC Environmental Sub-Committee posted by the Source and the Patch, and sent to the Metrowest Daily News as well, in response to the action taken by the Framingham City Council Finance Sub-Committee on the matter of solar panels at the McAuliffe library:
“If Framingham is going to embrace fundamental sustainable development we must adopt robust adaptation and mitigation processes in the face of the climate crisis that threatens to engulf us. It is incumbent upon us solarize Framingham now. Not next year, not in five years. Now. Our enigmatic inaction to address this egregious calamity is terrifying given the damning evidence of global warming; to whit, Texas.
As the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) states, “Climate adaptation refers to the actions taken to manage impacts of climate change by reducing vulnerability and exposure to its harmful effects and exploiting any potential benefits. Adaptation takes place at international, national, and local levels.”
In Framingham we increase our risks and costs by dragging our collective feet. Our wonderful city is light-years behind neighboring towns including Natick (where all public schools are solarized) and Sudbury (which has even solarized its’ recycling plant!) Recently the solar contract proposal from Hopkinton-based Solect Energy for the Christa McAuliffe Library Branch was defeated in a 3-2 vote by the Finance Sub-Committee of the City Council in favor of securing additional, competitive proposals. Our city leaders worked assiduously with Solect Energy through PowerOptions, the principal energy-buying consortium in New England. The numerous solar and renewable projects adopted by organizations and communities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, among others, demonstrate the degree to which these competitively priced and industry-leading collaborative projects yield tangible and critical results. The recently delayed proposal of a twenty-year contract with Solect Energy would save Framingham over $100,000. There are no initial or start-up costs. A power purchase agreement would allow Framingham to save nearly $63,000 over direct purchase. Outright purchase of the solar panels or signing a power-purchase agreement does not affect the municipality. Municipalities are not eligible for state or federal tax credits.
Framingham must eschew the misguided direction of the Finance Sub-Committee which seeks to re-trace the definitive and educated steps taken since 2015 to put Framingham on the responsible path of sustainability. We do not have time to shop around and the likelihood of securing a better deal with another company is a pipe dream. Framingham can become a leader in the fight against the climate crisis and model for the rest of our country the just and humane steps needed to take care of our planet – which cannot wait any longer. Our very health and lives depend on it.”
Members of the Framingham Democratic Committee Environmental Sub-Committee:
Mary Kate Feeney