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Phillipsburg Town Council Plans for Solar Power

The Phillipsburg Town Council met Tuesday night to discuss solar energy and a possible facelift for the former Elks lodge. Council approved an agreement with Phoebus Fund LLC to purchase electricity from a projected solar farm on Belvidere Road in Lopatcong after its yearly reorganisation with three new members. Phoebus Fund’s Andrew Kennedy delivered a brief presentation on the project, which will be built on agricultural property and designed to allow the farmer to produce crops alongside the solar system.

Phillipsburg consumes an average of 5.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, at a cost of 9.7 cents per kWh, according to Kennedy. He claims that the proposed solar project will lower that cost in half, with a cost of roughly 4.5 cents per kWh. The deal left all costs of installing and maintaining the solar facility to the corporation, according to town administrator Rob Bengivenga, and the town would only be compelled to purchase electricity from Phoebus Fund if it was less expensive than power from conventional sources.

The deal, according to Councilman Lee Clark, will help reach the goals of Gov. Phil Murphy’s Energy Master Plan, which aims for a transition to 100 percent sustainable energy by 2050. “Phillipsburg will do its share and save money for residents,” Clark added. He added that it will also contribute in the protection of local agriculture from development. The former Elks Lodge at 75 S. Main Street was also mentioned by the council as a prospective renovation project.

The concept, which would comprise two retail spaces and a mix of one- and two-bedroom flats, was detailed by Jessica Margulies of Eclectic Architecture. The proposed reconstruction would necessitate some exceptions for residential density and parking, but council decided to delegate the task of preparing the necessary revisions to the Riverfront Redevelopment Plan to the planning board.

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