By Terry Rogers
On Monday, November 25, Milford City Council voted to temporarily suspend the Green Energy Grant Program for Photovoltaic Systems (PV). Scott Lynch, the Energy Services Manager for the Delaware Municipal Electric Cooperation explained to council that the State of Delaware and the Sustainable Energy Utility were working together to offer a new PV incentive, and that to avoid an overload on Milford’s program, the City should consider a temporary suspension until the new regulations are released.
“What we have seen when new incentives are proposed is that you get a pile of contractors who attempt to get a lot of applications in at the last second, or those that wait until the newer, better deal comes out,” Mr. Lynch explained. “In either case, a large increase in applications for the grant program could lead to problems. Currently, your grant program has a wait of four plus years for the applicant to receive their money. A large number of applications at one time could significantly increase that wait time. To give you a point of reference, one of our other municipal utilities, Lewes, has a current incentive wait of 40 years.” Councilman Skip Pikus asked if Mr. Lynch knew when the new program would be available.
“They are hoping January or February, but that may be ambitious,” Mr. Lynch explained.
“If all of a sudden, we were to get 50 people come in for an incentive, we would be in trouble,” Mr. Pikus said. Mr. Lynch said that was true and that since he has seen this happen numerous times, he was attempting to advise council the best way to proceed.
“Do we have a lot of requests now?” Councilman Garrett Grier asked. Mr. Lynch explained that, currently, Milford has a few projects pending but not completed. City Council voted unanimously to temporarily suspend the Green Energy Grant for Photovoltaic Systems until Mr. Lynch can return with more information about the updated state program.
In other city business, City Council voted to recommend that the Planning Commission consider adjusting the Comprehensive Plan. The change would affect properties located along Route 113 in the area of Redner’s, Schanne Insurance and other businesses along the highway. Currently many properties in the area are zoned Low Density Residential. Mr. Carmean said that many homeowners are being told that their property would be more valuable if it was zoned Highway Commercial. The change would not affect existing residences, Mr. Carmean explained.
“As long as there is a home there, it will remain a home, but if they decide to sell the property and tear down the house, they have the ability to build a commercial business,” Mr. Carmean explained. “The way it is zoned now, if the house is torn down, it must be replaced with a house.”