Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
Thanks to the launch of a new solar power facility in early September, the smallest city in Massachusetts is now producing more solar power than the entire state did in 2007.
This lofty achievement was tweeted by Sen. Benjamin Downing, who praised the city’s new project. The new 3.5-megawatt solar generation facility – some 7,000 solar panels – sits on a former landfill on E Street, according to Assessor Ross Vivori, who played a key role in the team that helped develop the solar project.
The facility feeds electricity into the power grid, which is purchased back by the city at a reduced rate. It is expected to generate 4.3 megawatt-hours of energy annually.
With the new facility and two smaller 650-kilowatt solar installations located in North Brookfield and Westminster, the city will be able to offset 100 percent of its electricity usage with solar power, Vivori said.
The solar panels will offset 2,989 tons of carbon annually, the equivalent to removing 630 cars from the road, according to Vivori. North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright estimated the annual savings at more than $400,000.
“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,” Alcombright said.
The $9 million facility, thought to be the largest in western Massachusetts, was executed through a 20-year power purchase agreement with Syncarpha Capital, a New York-based firm dedicated to developing and operating solar energy systems. The city pays the firm for power used at a lower price than what utility charges at a set rate, Alcombright said.