18 January 2011
Western Massachusetts Electric Company plans to develop a 4.2MW solar plant on a former landfill in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The project will accommodate approximately 17,000 solar panels. Upon completion, the Springfield facility will join the Electric Company's Silver Lake Solar Facility as two of the largest in the region.
“Our solar program helps stimulate development of large scale solar facilities and the demand for regional construction and engineering services. Our use of a capped landfill creates a new and viable use for an otherwise challenged property within our home city,” Clarke said.
The project will bring $22M of construction to the region and is expected to contribute several hundred thousand dollars of annual property tax revenue to the city of Springfield. Springfield is one of the two Gateway Communities in Western Mass Electric Company’s service territory and is home to some 65,000 customers.
The Commonwealth has a goal to install 250MW of solar by 2017. Under the landmark Green Communities Act (GCA), each Massachusetts electric utility may own up to 50MW of solar generation, subject to approval by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU).
Western Mass Electric Co. was the first utility to receive DPU approval and is currently authorized to install 6MW of solar. Local permitting for the project is underway and the company expects to begin construction in the second quarter of this year. Construction of the Springfield facility will complete the initial 6 megawatt authorization received from the DPU.