Category Archives: solar project

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 19- 9/19/11

Once again I am a little late at posting the latest edition of It’s Your Town newsletter, the newsletter was sent out to subscribers on Monday.

This edition is covers the Township Committee meeting held on Monday night September 19, 2011. Inside you will find a wealth of information that a person wouldn’t normally know about unless they attended one of the Township Committee meetings themselves.
For instance, there was a public hearing on the new snow removal and brush and leaf removal ordinances and an update on the time frame of having Hubbard Ave repaired (it happens to be approx. 4 weeks).
During public comments a question arose about the Township’s Solar Project that has now been downsized from 4.1 mega watts (MW) to 2.8MW, the commenter wanted to know why. There also seemed to be a discrepancy in a bond issue that had a perceived $100K error that the commenter asked about but the question went unanswered.
If the Township won’t broadcast these meetings over it’s public access T.V channels than this newsletter is the best record of what actually transpired during these meetings.
If anyone is interested in subscribing to the It’s Your Town newsletter, you can do so by sending your request to
If you don’t want to subscribe but want to read this edition of the newsletter you can do so by clicking ……….Here
Happy Reading

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Filed under Its Your Town, Middletown NJ, Newsletter, public comments, resolutions and ordinances, solar project

Savings From Middletown Solar Project Questioned

By guest blogger Linda Baum

Anyone who attended the Middletown Town Committee meeting on June 20th got to see Birdsall Engineering’s presentation of its solar feasibility study. A pdf version of that presentation is now on the town’s website. The Birdsall representative, Jessica Vogel, repeatedly emphasized the 9 cent solar electric rate assumed in Birdsall’s savings analysis, and the Town Committee joined her in repeating the $6.6 million savings achieved over 15 years.

Interestingly, the analysis doesn’t list what assumptions were made in arriving at that savings figure (labeled “cost avoidance” in the study). To know what you’d save, you have to know what you’d otherwise pay, right? So Birdsall would have to have known what the town pays its supplier for the electricity.

I brought up this issue at the town workshop meeting on July 6th. I learned that currently the town pays around 11 cents per kilowatt hour. I played with the Birdsall numbers — they assume a utility rate of more than 17.5 cents, and rising. I asked about the other assumptions used in the study. Committeeman Settembrino said that the panels are expected to produce 0.5% less electricity each year, but the Birdsall numbers assume that production will drop by only 0.25% each year.

The effect of those inaccuracies is to make it appear that the town will achieve much bigger savings than they actually will. Per Birdsall, a 9 cent per kilowatt hour rate for solar electricity (escalating by 3% each year) will produce savings over 15 years of $6.6 million. Had they used accurate inputs, the savings figure would be closer to $1 million. But if the town is able to get a utility rate closer to the county’s current rate of around 9 or 9.5 cents, there will be no savings at all.

The Town Committee said that they hadn’t checked the numbers in the study and pointed out that Birdsall is a reputable firm. So who am I to question them, right?? They asked what I was getting at. They said, “If the savings are lower, should we not do this? Are you saying we shouldn’t provide tax relief to residents?”

Whoa!!! No, that is not what I’m saying at all. I’m all for solar. Always have been. But I’m also for truth and accuracy. If the assumptions underlying Birdsall’s analysis are inaccurate, then the study does a poor job of assessing feasibility. And wasn‘t that the point? Does that mean we shouldn’t pursue solar? No. It means we should be looking for a much better deal than 9 cents per kwh.

I have to wonder why no one on the Town Committee seemed more concerned that Birdsall’s numbers are wrong. If the town is using the study as a guide to assess offers from developers, then they will be ill-equipped to do so.

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Filed under Birdsall Service Group, cost analysis, kilowatt hour, Middletown Township Committee, solar energy, solar panels, solar project, tax relief, utility rates

>It’s Your Town Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 12- 6/20/11: The Methadone Clinic Uproar

>The new edition of It’s Your Town newsletter has been published and ready for reading and covers what happened during the Middletown Township NJ monthly Committee meeting of June 20th, 2011.

besides there being a presentation of the Township Solar Project by Birdsall Engineering and a public hearing on theTownship’s ADA compliance plan,the newsletter tells about the very large crowd of concerned citizens that attended the meeting to express concerns about the Methadone Clinic that opened on Rt. 35 at Apple Farm Rd.

As reported here and at other websites the meeting was overflowing with residents from the the Applebrook and TwinBrook neighborhood that are effected by the methadone clinic being so close to their homes. At times the meeting became very loud boisterous and contentious. Residents found it hard to believe that they were being told the true about the clinic and the process that enabled it to open at the current location.

You can read all about it HERE in the newsletter.

As an added bonus for your listening pleasure I have an audio clip from that night that features resident Patricia E. Corridon, who spoke to the committee about the opening of the Middletown Methadone clinic. She said she did not feel a great deal of trust in the Committee who were elected to protect their citizens. She said everything from a broken toenail to a cell tower is aired in Middletown. She said it is hard to believe when they say they knew nothing about this and were blindsided. She said for them to say they will be protected but then turn Apple Farm Rd. into a police state is not what is wanted. She said the Committee does not have the pleasure of plausible deniability.

Ms. Corridon was interrupted midway through her comments by Tony Fiore who sounded arrogant, exasperated and helpless in the wake of all the criticism being leveled against himself and others who’s job it was to know about this before the clinic opened at the only entrance into or out of a residential neighborhood

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Filed under Applebrook, Birdsall Service Group, Its Your Town, methadone clinic, Middletown Medical clinic, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, solar project, Tony Fiore