Renovated Hydro-Mill Goes Solar

Over a year ago the owners of Riverwalk Properties realized that they needed to control skyrocketing electricity costs. After evaluating several options they chose to install one of the largest solar electric power systems in New England with a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC).

Sitting atop a refurbished mill building that was once powered by hydropower from the Merrimack River; the electricity generated by this 121-kilowatt/392 panel solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system is helping power the economic development of the area using a different renewable energy source. “In retrospect, we feel very fortunate to have been ahead of the curve in developing this project which will help to control our rising energy costs,” said Tom Parker, Chief Financial Officer of Riverwalk Partners, LLC. The Riverwalk Properties, located in Lawrence, MA, is home to 50 tenants, in a broad range of businesses all of which are impacted by rising energy costs. Not only will the mill complex be partially run by solar power, but the project was a local collaborative effort led by Solar Works Inc.’s Massachusetts-based engineering and installation team, Solectria Renewables LLC of Lawrence, MA, and Schott Solar of Billerica, MA. This major solar initiative will include an interpretive display in the lobby of Sal’s Pizza Restaurant and Function facility located on the first floor of the building to help educate customers about the benefits of renewable energy. “Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this project is that it can shape the way the next generation thinks about electricity,” said Renewable Energy Trust Director Warren Leon. “Expanding the use of solar power will increase our energy independence, help support job creation at our high-tech companies and manufacturers, and lead to a cleaner environment.” MTC is the state’s economic development agency for renewable energy and the innovation economy. The agency administers the Renewable Energy Trust, which is designed to help create jobs for the Commonwealth by stimulating increased supply and demand for green power.

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