Solar, Utility Scale

WMECo Selects Site for 1.8-MW PV Installation

Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECo) announced its plan to develop the first of several large-scale solar energy facilities. The selected site combines two parcels of land owned by WMECo and the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA). The eight-acre site will accommodate up to 1.8 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity.

“Today’s announcement provides tangible evidence that large-scale solar is becoming a reality in the Commonwealth,” said Peter Clarke, WMECo president and chief operating officer.  “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Pittsfield on this exciting project.”

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a goal to install 250 megawatts of solar by 2017. Under the landmark Green Communities Act (GCA), each Massachusetts electric utility may own up to 50 MW of solar generation, subject to approval by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU).

WMECo is the first utility to receive DPU approval and is currently authorized to install 6 MW of solar. The company’s solar program reflects a close collaboration with the Attorney General’s office and other key Massachusetts and industry stakeholders.

The project will bring $10-12M of construction to the region and is expected to contribute more than US $200,000 of annual property tax revenue to the city of Pittsfield. Pittsfield is one of the two Gateway Communities in WMECo’s service territory and is home to some 24,000 WMECo customers. Local permitting for the project is underway and WMECo expects to begin construction in the second quarter of this year.