Details on Massachusetts’ largest community solar + storage farm (just completed)

Massachusetts solar storage

Massachusetts’ largest community solar + storage farm has completed construction and is nearing subscriber completion. The 7.1-MW Happy Hollow Community Solar + Storage Farm is built on a gravel pit in Winchendon, Mass., and includes a 3.3-MW energy storage system. The project is owned by SunRaise Investments, developed and constructed by Borrego Solar with CleanChoice Energy managing subscriber services including acquisition, management, customer care, billing, and retention.

“We’re proud to be part of this innovative community solar plus storage farm. This project provides people the opportunity to support clean energy innovation, while reducing their climate impact and saving money on their energy bills,” said Tom Matzzie, CEO of CleanChoice Energy. “Massachusetts continues to be a clean energy leader and this solar farm is a prime example of that leadership delivering benefits to the community.”

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Community solar offers landowners the opportunity to receive additional revenue by leasing their land for solar, while opening the benefits of solar to the hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents that either do not own their own home or do not have a roof that works for solar. The subscribers for this Community Solar Farm can see up to a 10% savings on their utility bills with no upfront investment, setup fees or installation.

Borrego Solar developed, engineered and constructed the project, while SunRaise secured the construction and permanent financing and will remain the long-term owner and operator of the facility. The project is expected to generate 9,000,000 kWh of electricity each year, which is enough energy to power 1,200 average Massachusetts homes for a year.

— Solar Builder magazine

Massachusetts SMART program kicks off with this 9.8-MW solar + storage portfolio

Borrego Solar Winchendon

SunRaise Investments, LLC and Borrego Solar Systems Inc. announced the completion of two of the first solar projects under the new Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program.

The larger of the two projects is a 7.1 megawatt (MW) array located on a gravel pit in Winchendon, Mass. The project is comprised of nearly 20,000 solar panels and is coupled with a 3.3 MW energy storage system.

The Winchendon project is a Community Shared Solar project, meaning that local homeowners and businesses can subscribe to the project and receive solar credits on their energy bills for the power produced, thus reducing their electric bills.

The second of the two SMART projects is a 2.7 MW array located in Freetown, Mass. The Freetown project was awarded a program allocation under SMART through a competitive request for proposals conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resource in late 2017, making it one of the first SMART projects and the only project in the NSTAR Eversource service area awarded a SMART allocation under the competitive process.

Borrego Solar developed, engineered, and constructed the Winchendon and Freetown projects, while SunRaise secured the construction and permanent financing and will remain the long-term owner and operator of the facilities.

Together the two projects will generate about 12,700,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, which is enough energy to meet the energy demand of 1,688 average Massachusetts homes for a year.

— Solar Builder magazine

Borrego Solar Systems saw big-time results from its energy storage, O&M push in 2016

Borrego solar

Established in 1980, Borrego Solar Systems Inc. says it experienced its best year ever in 2016 — hitting a 76 percent increase in total MW installed from 2015. The company achieved a 100 percent increase in profits, representing its eighth consecutive year of profitable growth.

Borrego Solar was once again among the top commercial developers nationally and held the largest market share in two of its key geographic markets, Massachusetts and New York, according to GTM Research’s Leaderboard.
In Massachusetts, the company installed more than 90 MW in 2016, a 144 percent increase from 2015, bringing its total installed capacity to 213 MW. In New York, the company installed 28 MW, a slight uptick from 2015, bringing its total capacity to 55 MW—an amount achieved just two years after fully entering the market. In California, Borrego Solar installed 45 percent more MW than in 2015, bringing its total capacity in the state to more than 86 MW.

In 2017, the company will continue to focus on reducing the cost of solar for its customers. While solar is already delivering meaningful savings compared to conventional power in all of Borrego Solar’s major markets, the goal is to enable more market segments and geographies to benefit from low-cost renewable energy.

RELATED: Solect Energy has record-breaking solar installation year in 2016 

Energy Storage and O&M

In 2016 Borrego Solar expanded beyond solar with the launch of its energy storage division. Led by General Manager Dan Berwick and Director of Technology and Operations John duPont, the energy storage division is offering energy storage solutions to both solar and non-solar customers. The company aims to leverage storage in order to enable higher penetration of renewable energy on the grid.

“Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy, and in 2016 we decided to focus our attention on addressing some of the limitations of solar that energy storage can help solve,” said Dan Berwick. “Energy storage is a natural fit for us because of our existing project development, engineering, and operational capabilities, and because our existing customers and the industries we serve are well-positioned to benefit from energy storage. With recent cost reductions and improvements in performance, we decided that 2016 was the right time to invest in energy storage, and we’re already ahead of our plan.”

Borrego Solar’s O&M division saw substantial growth in 2016, with a nearly 80 percent annual increase in MW under management. The company now manages nearly 500 MW of projects across 15 states: MA, NH, VT, RI, CT, NY, PA, NJ, MD, NC, TN, IN, OR, CA, AZ.

“We knew we had a market-leading offering when we first launched this division in 2015 because our warranty customers were reaching out to us for long-term solar O&M support on projects built by competitors,” said Phillip Stephenson, vice president of O&M. “As we work to grow and diversify our portfolio we are continually upgrading our capabilities to make sure our customers continue to receive the best value in the market.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Ithaca College goes solar with remote-net-metered array

Financier Greenwood Energy and installer Borrego Solar Systems completed a 2.9-MW remote-net-metered solar array for Ithaca College. Borrego Solar co-developed, designed and built the array while Greenwood Energy will own and operate it. Located approximately 40 miles from campus on 15 acres of land in the Ontario County Town of Seneca, the solar array is one of the largest for a higher education institution in New York State.

Ithaca College solar array PPA

The solar farm will generate an estimated 3.5 million kWh of electricity in its first year, which will provide roughly 10 percent of the campus’ electricity needs. This amount is equal to powering the Gannett Center, Dillingham Center and Williams Hall academic buildings, along with the Emerson residence Hall.

“I offer my thanks to our public and private partners for helping us make this project a reality,” said Ithaca College President Tom Rochon.

RELATED: New York utilities, SolarCity propose landmark partnership 


Ithaca College solar project

The project is financed through a Power Purchase Agreement, which covered all upfront costs and allows the college to purchase the solar energy produced from the owner, Greenwood Energy, at a set price over the 25-year term of the agreement through remote net energy metering (RNEM). Ithaca’s project is the recipient of a $1.6 million New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) grant.

“Greenwood Energy is proud of making this private-public partnership a reality. An exciting outcome thanks to a concerted effort of multiple parties from policy all the way to project construction. We can only hope for more,” said Camilo Patrignani, Greenwood Energy CEO.

The NY-SUN initiative is making it possible for all New Yorkers to invest in solar energy by providing financial incentives and solar-friendly utility programs. One key program utilized for Ithaca College’s installation is RNEM, which allows for entities to install solar at an off-site location and receive credits for the energy fed onto the grid. Thanks to RNEM, the installation will save Ithaca College an estimated $10,000 to $50,000 annually, depending on the future price of electricity.


— Solar Builder magazine

Borrego Solar launches new division to focus on energy storage solutions

Borrego Solar Systems Inc., a large-scale solar development, design, financing, construction and O&M company, is now hopping into energy storage solutions with the launch of a new division. This marks the company’s first ever formal expansion into energy services beyond solar photovoltaics. The company will be offering both standalone energy storage solutions and storage integrated with solar PV.

Borrego solar“We’re excited to launch this new chapter, as a way to further our mission of accelerating the adoption of renewable energy,” said Borrego Solar CEO Mike Hall. “Energy storage – and in particular the long-duration energy storage on which we’ll be focusing our efforts – is an important piece of what we need to effectively integrate more and more renewable energy into our electricity system, and it’s something that our customers, electricity regulators and policymakers are asking for.”

The energy storage division will be based in Massachusetts, and will serve customers nationally. Borrego Solar’s executive vice president of strategy and business development, Dan Berwick, will lead the new division.

“We’re realizing that all across our customer base—from cities, school districts and public agencies to businesses, manufacturers and electric utilities—it is more frequently making economic sense to evaluate energy storage in conjunction with solar,” said Berwick. “We knew that this technology shift was around the corner given the changes happening to the grid as we add more wind and solar power to it. As climate change becomes an increasingly present danger, and the need to decarbonize our electricity system more immediate, the distributed energy marketplace will demand greater amounts of flexible energy storage. We’re now prepared to meet that need.”

Over the coming year, Borrego Solar’s energy storage division will focus on supporting utilities across the United States in the development and installation of megawatt-scale energy storage systems for integration with renewables and peak-load management. The team will also offer energy storage solutions to its existing solar PV portfolio, totaling more than 400 MW, and to new solar customers, who are primarily large-scale electricity users in its core state markets of California, New York, and Massachusetts.

Borrego has more than 260 MW of installations in operation and more than 100 MW currently under construction. Borrego Solar is a market leader nationally in addition to having the largest market share in Massachusetts and New York.

— Solar Builder magazine