Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Solar Array Dedicated in Belchertown Expected to Start Producing Electricity Next Week

KEVIN GUTTING The owners of Evergreene Golf, a miniature golf course on Ware Road (Rt. 9) in Belchertown, have leased adjacent land, just to the south, for a solar array.
BELCHERTOWN — Town Planner Douglas Albertson called a new 1.5 megawatt solar array that was dedicated Thursday at the former driving range of the Evergreene mini-golf course “a point of pride” for the community.

Albertson spoke to about 20 people including town officials and representatives from Nexamp, the Boston-based solar developer that built the power generating plant. They gathered at the site on 11 acres along Route 9 for speeches and a tour of the solar field. Nexamp has a 20-year lease on the land that belongs to Barbara and Richard Greene.

Nexamp vice president for business development Christopher Clark, said the project is a “win-win for a multitude of stakeholders” which was made possible by “an aggressive incentive program” under which Massachusetts expects to see the production statewide of 1,600 megawatts of solar-generated electricity by 2020.

Project manager Brandon Doane gave the tour of panels containing 5,071 modules on the site that are mounted in the ground at a 23-degree angle to the sky.

Barbara Greene said that it took three years to complete the project since Nexamp approached her and her husband about building the array. She expects National Grid to start actually drawing energy off the site next week.

Albertson said he is “a big fan” of solar energy and that he hopes to see more of it in Belchertown in years to come. He installed solar panels of the roof of his home last year and the town’s building inspector has been getting an increasing number of applications from people who want to do the same.

“The bigger picture is that this is what we need to be doing as a society for our future,” said Albertson. “Solar is something we can generate in Massachusetts and we don’t need to import it.”

He pointed out that another firm, Solar Design Associates of Harvard, is considering building solar panels as part of a development plan for the former Belchertown State School property. “I kind of like it,” Albertson said of the idea, although there is not yet a formal proposal.

Clark said Nexamp is currently working on two projects in Hadley, both on land it is leasing from Wayne Goulet. The first, a 3-megawatt facility on slightly less than 10 acres north of Mill Valley Road is due to go on line in the next few weeks, said Clark.

Permits are being obtained for the other, a 2.5-megawatt site which is expected to produce electricity within 1½ years, Clark said that.

Source: http://www.gazettenet.com/home/12540485-95/solar-array-dedicated-in-belchertown-expected-to-start-producing-electricity-next-week

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