Mt. Tom Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of ENGIE North America, held a groundbreaking ceremony for a 5.76 megawatt solar farm on the property of the former coal-fired Mt. Tom Power Station in Holyoke, Mass.
Beginning in January 2017, Mt. Tom Solar, LLC will sell renewable energy from the facility to Holyoke Gas & Electric pursuant to a Power Purchase Agreement, which will benefit Holyoke residents.
The solar installation will be one of the largest in the state, and include more than 17,000 solar panels on about 22 acres. The solar farm represents the beneficial utilization of the property of the coal-fired Mt. Tom Power Station, which was operated by an affiliate of Mt. Tom Solar, LLC and retired in 2014.
ENGIE, which is the new name for GDF SUEZ around the world, manages a range of energy businesses in the United States and Canada, including electricity generation and cogeneration, natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) distribution and sales, retail energy sales, and serves to help customers run their facilities more efficiently and optimize energy use and expense.
Standard Solar working on Choptank Electric Cooperative project
Standard Solar, Inc., a solar energy company specializing in the development and financing of solar electric systems nationwide, and Choptank Electric Cooperative, Inc. recently celebrated the groundbreaking of a 503 kW, 1,596 panel system.
Built by Standard Solar on a 1.2 acre field, the project is expected to produce 706 MWh per year and will provide electricity for Choptank Electric Cooperative’s Regional Service Center which hosts operations serving members on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore.
The solar project and other energy efficient technologies will assist the Cooperative in achieving LEED Silver Certification for its new building.
Utility-scale solar+storage project breaks ground in New England
Stakeholders from across Massachusetts and New England joined the Sterling Municipal Light Department to celebrate the groundbreaking of the first utility-scale energy storage facility in Massachusetts. The 2-megawatt, 3.9 megawatt-hour battery storage system, to be installed at Sterling’s Chocksett Road Substation, will be able to “island” from the grid during a power outage and, with the support of existing solar generation, provide up to 12 days of backup power to the town’s police station and dispatch center, a critical facility providing first responder services.
In addition to the resilient power benefits, the town will also save on energy costs over the project’s lifespan due to the grid services the batteries will provide. Site construction will start in the fall of 2016, and the project is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2016. This 2-megawatt project effectively doubles the installed battery storage capacity in Massachusetts.
“The lessons learned from this project will be valuable in determining the economics of energy storage in various applications, in addition to helping understand the system metrics that are most important in determining system reliability and safety,” said Dan Borneo, principal program/ project lead at Sandia National Laboratories.
The project is being led by Sterling Municipal Light Department, with batteries supplied by NEC Energy Solutions. Project funding included a $1.46 million grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.
Canadian Solar donates panels to microgrid project in the Congo
Canadian Solar Inc. worked with Empowered by Light, in partnership with the GivePower Foundation, to donate 30-kW solar panels with 72 poly cell matrix, the CS6X-P, to the first mini-grid systems in Virunga National Park — installed in August 2016.
Located in the Eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Virunga National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979. Virunga National Park is home to a large portion of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, Okapis, and other rare species. In recent years, many wildlife populations have been damaged by the Congo Civil War and relentless poaching efforts. Due to the efforts by the Virunga park rangers, these numbers have shown signs of reversal, and Canadian Solar is proud to be part of the continued protection.
This mini-grid PV system provides electricity to the three security sectors within the conservation, powering security lights, radios, and helping enhance the ranger’s ability to protect the park’s wildlife, even in remote areas at night.
Three utility-scale installs in North Carolina via Ecoplexus
Ecoplexus Inc. started construction on three more ground-mounted installations in North Carolina. The Baker, Benthall Bridge, and Turkey Creek Solar Parks represent a combined investment of more than $45 million. These facilities will be interconnected into Dominion North Carolina Power’s electrical grid, increasing the capacity of clean energy the utility has to distribute around the state. These projects will provide 50 gigawatt-hours of clean electricity annually.
Ecoplexus develops and operates utility scale solar PV projects for the wholesale and retail market in the U.S., and internationally. The Company has constructed and financed over fifty projects to date, representing approximately $350 million in project value. Customers include eight major utilities including PG&E, Duke, Progress, Xcel Energy, and Georgia Power and approximately fifteen municipalities in the US, as well as major International utilities.
Largest PV project on Virginia public schools complete
Secure Futures LLC, and the Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) co-hosted a dedication ceremony at Monticello High School for the largest installed solar PV array on a public school system in the Commonwealth of Virginia, totaling 1.1 MW on six Albemarle schools. VirginiaGovernor Terry McAuliffe keynoted the event, highlighting how this project supports the Commonwealth’s energy and economic development goals.
The Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Secure Futures and ACPS represents a milestone in Virginia, as the first solar installation on a public school system in the Commonwealth under the 2013 Pilot PPA Program legislation. With zero capital investment by ACPS and annual savings projections of $3,800, the system will provide 22% of the annual electricity requirements for the six schools it serves.
Under the 20-year PPA, Secure Futures builds, owns, operates and maintains the solar photovoltaic system, and sells the solar electricity to ACPS. SolarWorld Americas provided the panels, engineering, procurement, and construction management for the project.
Goodwill HQ celebrates 959-kW PV system
Horizon Goodwill Industries will host a ribbon cutting event to celebrate a 959.5 kW solar project recently completed and owned by WGL Energy Systems. The fully installed solar system consists of 1,170 ground mounted and 1,876 roof mounted solar panels installed at the Horizon Goodwill Headquarters in Hagerstown, MD.
WGL Energy Systems will own the project and sell electricity to Horizon Goodwill under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA). New Energy Equity, based in Annapolis, MD and RER Energy Group, based in Frederick, MD developed the project for Horizon Goodwill, and Pfister Energy, based in Baltimore, MD completed the engineering and construction of the project. Horizon Goodwill estimates they will save $950,000 over the life of the 25-year project.
The solar project is expected to produce approximately 1.2 million kWh of electricity per year.
— Solar Builder magazine