First Wind, an independent US-based wind energy company, announced on Monday the beginning of construction on a 17 MW solar project in Massachusetts. The new projects will be built across the Warren and Millbury communities of Massachusetts, and upon completion will have enough combined electricity to power the equivalent of 3,100 average homes.
Such a project, though small, still has immense benefits for the environment and local air quality. First Wind note that “a traditional fossil-fuel facility in Massachusetts producing an equivalent amount of electric energy … would consume over 45,000 barrels of oil or over 13,000 tons of coal per year.” Subsequently the new projects will end up displacing approximately 19,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, which amounts to removing removing 3,600 cars from the roads (according to the US Environmental Protection Agency).
“It is exciting that we are able to develop and build our very first solar projects in our home state of Massachusetts,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind.
“Massachusetts hasled the way on renewable energy issues, and we are excited that we are able to add some clean energy projects right here in the Commonwealth, which will further enhance our growing portfolio of projects and customers in the Northeast. We are also very pleased to partner with UMass to deliver clean, renewable solar power to their campuses while delivering genuine economic benefits to the host communities and cost-competitive clean, renewable energy for years to come.”
The 17 MW will be split across four separate installations: a 3 MW project in the town of Millbury. The remaining 14 MW will be spread across three sites in the town of Warren which, when combined, will amount to the second-largest solar project in Massachusetts.
A Power Purchase Agreement will see thet Lowell and Medical Center campuses of the University of Massachusetts acquiring the majority of the power from the four projects, allowing the university to save more than $1 million in annual energy costs.
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