North Adams launches solar facility

September 16, 2015 by Michael Green, News Editor

The solar panels were built on top of a former landfill on E Street in North Adams. Photo courtesy of Nancy Bullett

The solar panels were built on top of a former landfill on E Street in North Adams. Photo courtesy of Nancy Bullett

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, North Adams, Mass., celebrated the launch of a new solar panel facility on top of a former landfill on E Street.

“I am very excited to have recently cut the cord,” North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright said. “The project, four years in the making, is a true highlight of my administration.”

The facility cost $9 million to build, but by signing a 20-year purchasing agreement with Syncarpha Capital, North Adams paid no upfront costs for the facility. North Adams will pay a starting rate of $9.99 per kilowatt hour, and the price could rise as much as two percent per year. As of June, however, the average price of commercial electricity in Massachusetts was $15.03 per kilowatt-hour, so North Adams will save money with the new deal. Based on past usage, annual savings could total up to $400,000, according to Alcombright.

“This development makes sense on so many levels: cost savings, renewable energy, adaptive reuse of a capped landfill and, most importantly, creating a mindset and infrastructure that will allow us to pursue other green initiatives. This is a great time for the City of North Adams,” Alcombright said.

The array will offset approximately 2989 tons of carbon annually, according to Alcombright.

Massachusetts, with maximum solar production at a rate of 900 megawatts and about 30,000 installations, ranks fourth in solar production in the nation. The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources hopes solar production in the state will increase; its goal is 1600 megawatts by 2020.

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Ken Egnaczak September 17, 2015 at 12:42 pm

It is a good thing that North Adams and the Northern Berkshires are developing their renewable energy resources. Hopefully the community will also develop the considerable hydro power assets that we have to compliment the intermittent solar PV and wind energy generation.

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