Go-Ahead for Brockton’s Solar Brightfield Project

A long- awaited green light was flipped this week on a large, half-MW solar project in Massachusetts known as the Brockton “Brightfield.” At its heart is a plan to make use of a formerly polluted EPA-designated “brownfields” site and convert it into a local solar energy power plant — said to be the largest such solar project in New England.

Brockton Mayor James E. Harrington signed the contract with Global Solar Energy for the company to take the lead on the project. “Brockton is very fortunate to be able to redevelop an idle brownfield into a solar ‘Brightfield’ that generates emission-free solar energy,” Harrington said. “The Global Solar team gave Brockton a compelling and cost-effective proposal, and we are eager to work with them to move the project forward.” Global Solar Energy and its partners will design, install, operate and maintain a 425 kW DCSTC [Defense Communication Station Technical Control] photovoltaic system. The system will use 1,395 ASE300 (310 kW) modules from Schott Solar, which could generate more than 535 MWh of electricity the first year. This is enough to power City Hall and a fraction of the police station load. Using clean, renewable energy reduces emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The Brockton City Council voted on March 13, to authorize the Mayor to sign the contract. The project has a budget of $3.037 million, which will be paid through $2.1 million in city funds and grant funds from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust and the US Department of Energy. The project design will commence immediately — site preparation will begin in April and system installation will begin in May. “The Renewable Energy Trust is proud to work in partnership with the city of Brockton and its new Mayor Jim Harrington to develop the largest solar installation in New England,” said Trust Director Warren Leon. “The City’s execution of this contract represents another important milestone for a project that will generate clean electricity, help educate people about the need for alternative energy sources and stand as a symbol of what is possible when leaders from the public and private sectors work together toward a cleaner energy future for Massachusetts.” Global Solar Energy assembled a team that includes equipment manufacturers’ Schott Solar modules, Satcon Technology power conversion systems, and Fat Spaniel Technologies data acquisition systems. Landerholm Electric Company, a Brockton-based company, will perform installation, security, and operations and maintenance services. J. Derenzo Company and Coler & Colantonio will provide additional site preparation and engineering services. Bay State Gas Company, the property owner, is contributing to the project through its clean up activities, land acquisition, and by adding attractive landscaping and fencing around the property. The company will lease the property to the City for 30 years. “It is so gratifying to see this project finally coming to fruition after five years of feasibility studies, legislative approvals, financing, and contract negotiations,” said Brownfields Coordinator Lori Colombo. “This particular neighborhood truly deserves an environmentally benign development considering some of the environmental burdens it has experienced.” Using electricity generated by Brockton’s Brightfield will avoid the emission of about 595,300 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. That is the equivalent of taking 45 cars off the road, or the amount of carbon dioxide that would be absorbed by planting 89 acres of trees. Brockton’s project also avoids emissions of other greenhouse gases — about 1,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 370 pounds of nitrogen oxide per year.

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