Solar Power Systems To Be Installed at Four Town Buildings 

The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday unanimously approved two contracts that will see solar power systems installed on town buildings in New Canaan for the first time. If all goes as planned, the new photovoltaic or ‘PV’ systems could be up and running at Town Hall, the Animal Care building at the New Canaan Nature Center, Waveny Pool house and Highway Department garage prior to next winter, officials said at the selectmen’s regular meeting. “This is our first foray into solar and I am very excited to get this project launched,” First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. Moynihan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of a $530,000 contract with Hartford-based Northeast Smart Energy to install the PV systems and with Norwalk-based MHR Development, which drew up the RFP for the work and will help manage the project. 

MHR’s principal is Mark Robbins, a former New Canaan resident who attended the meeting. Moynihan noted that Robbins has consulted on solar projects at local schools.

Town Officials Weigh Proposed Bicycle Signs

Town officials are weighing whether to install roadside signs developed by a Fairfield County cycling group that illustrate a state law instructing motorists to give bicycle riders three feet of separation when passing. The Sound Cyclists Bicycle Club (which has a mailing address in Darien) has proposed introducing the bright yellow signs in New Canaan, according to Tiger Mann, assistant director of the Department of Public Works. Mann (who added that he doesn’t like the idea of installing signs without a very good reason) said he’s bringing the proposal to the town planner and Planning and Zoning to see what they think. “It’s a question of the signs themselves, where to put them and then jurisdiction, too—whether it’s a street sign or not,” Mann said. Cycling is a popular form of exercise and transportation for New Canaanites, and locals this spring saw their own official cycling group form—a joint effort of New Canaan Bicycles (in the Bob’s Sports lot off of Cherry) and Walter Stewart’s.

New Canaan Conservation Officials Push for Town Commitment to Clean, Renewable Energy

Conservation officials are recommending that New Canaan commit itself to clean, renewable energy through a state program that could see the town qualify for grant money toward new systems.

Wilton already is a “Clean Energy Community” and most every town in lower Fairfield County (except New Canaan and Darien) have taken what’s called the “Clean Energy Communities Municipal Pledge”—a contract-free statement with no financial obligations to save energy in municipal buildings and voluntarily purchase renewable energy. (The program is overseen by Energize Connecticut, an effort backed by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, state, and local electric and gas utilities.)

The New Canaan Conservation Commission at its most recent meeting voted unanimously to recommend that the Board of Selectmen authorize First Selectman Rob Mallozzi to sign the pledge. “I want to note that New Canaan had 94 points as of April and once you hit 100—and we may already have done that—that’s $10,000 toward an energy efficiency project,” Commissioner Mark Robbins said during the meeting, held in part inside the Lapham Community Center’s art room. Commission Chair Cam Hutchins said that if just six additional New Canaan residents had undergone energy audits since April, the town likely would qualify for the $10,000 in Bright Idea Grants. Robbins said that the funds could go toward projects such as electric vehicle charging, fuel conversion and solar insulation.