SPRINGFIELD, USA: Western Massachusetts Electric Co. (WMECo) celebrated the completion of its second large-scale solar energy facility in the Indian Orchard section of Springfield. The facility features 8,200 solar panels and produces 2.3 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
WMECo officials joined local and state officials in celebrating the transformation of the former foundry site into a clean, renewable energy facility. The Indian Orchard facility joins WMECo's Silver Lake Solar facility in Pittsfield as one of the largest in the Northeast region and is the largest in New England.
"WMECo continues to demonstrate that large-scale solar can be developed and delivered in a cost-effective manner for our customers," said Peter J. Clarke WMECo president and COO. "These projects represent significant progress toward meeting the Commonwealth's renewable energy goals and diversifying the region's energy supply with non-carbon-emitting fossil fuels."
"I'm very pleased to be here with Peter Clarke and other WMECo officials today to make this great announcement," stated Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. "This continues to build on my Administration's vision for green economic development. Seven months ago we were standing on a remediated brownfield site. Today, this site is now a tax-generating property and is home to the largest renewable energy facility in New England. I appreciate WMECo's continued collaboration with the City of Springfield," added Mayor Sarno.
The project brought nearly $12 million of new construction to the region and is will contribute $400,000 of annual property tax revenue to the City of Springfield. Springfield is one of the two Gateway Communities in WMECo's service territory and is home to approximately 65,000 WMECo customers.
"Investments in renewable energy cut long-term energy costs, create local jobs and bring us closer to meeting our statewide clean energy goals," said Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs secretary, Richard K. Sullivan Jr. "We have 67 megawatts of solar energy installed statewide—equal to the amount of electricity used by 10,600 households annually—and this project builds on this accomplishment by keeping this economic opportunity here in the Commonwealth."
The Commonwealth has a goal to install 250 MW of solar generation by 2017. Under the landmark Green Communities Act (GCA), each Massachusetts electric utility may own up to 50 MW of solar, subject to approval by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU).