U.S. City May Develop Large PV Generating Facility

The City of Brockton in Massachusetts has launched a feasibility study which may establish a large-scale solar power generating facility.

BEDFORD, Massachusetts, US, 2001-08-16 [SolarAccess.com] The City of Brockton in Massachusetts has launched a feasibility study which may establish a large-scale solar power generating facility. The City has received a grant from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust to study the feasibility of converting 27 acres of contaminated brownfields into a Solar Brightfield(TM) that would have a generation capacity of 5 to 10 megawatts … enough for 3,000 homes and capable of offseting 14,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year. The grant was awarded by the Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation, which administers the MRET as a state fund to promote renewable energy resources. The grant will cover two-thirds of the cost of the assessment study. A Solar Brightfield is a solar power station of photovoltaic panels which is located on a brownfield site for the dual purpose of power generation and enhancing electricity reliability. “We are very excited about supporting the City of Brockton in its desire to incorporate solar power generation into the city’s ambitious redevelopment plan,” says Roger Little, president & CEO of Spire Corporation. “This award strengthens our strategy of working with energy service providers and municipalities to promote solar electric power.” “The reuse of contaminated industrial properties for solar power generation makes good economic and environmental sense,” he adds. “Our analysis shows that electricity produced from large-scale, solar arrays sited on industrial brownfields can be competitive with the price of peak power produced by traditional generating facilities in many U.S. cities and towns.” The study will be conducted by the City, Spire, Brockton 21st Century Corp., and Bay State Gas, among others, to assess the technical and financial feasibility of a solar generating plant, its economic benefits, community support, and the formation of conceptual project plans. Spire will contribute its knowledge of solar technology and the development of grid-linked PV systems, and will model the financial costs and benefits of alternative joint venture business structures. The feasibility study should be completed within nine months. If the project is implemented, Spire says it may establish a module factory in Brockton, similar to the operation it set up in Chicago to manufacture PV systems locally. “We welcome Spire’s participation in this innovative Brightfield initiative,” adds Brockton Mayor John Yunits. “Besides converting brownfields into a green source of energy for Brockton, a solar generating facility, coupled with a local solar systems manufacturing facility, could provide jobs and attract high-tech businesses to our area.” Spire provides solar electric systems for distributed power generation and its equipment has been installed in 144 factories in 42 countries around the world. The company claims that 90 percent of PV modules in use today were manufactured with Spire equipment. The City of Chicago says it wants Spire Solar Chicago, in cooperation with the ComEd utility, to deploy a 500 kW solar electric system on a brownfield in Chicago’s south side. MRET was created in 1997 by the state legislature to encourage the development of renewable energy resources and reduce reliance on traditional fossil-fueled generating plants. Massachusetts ratepayers pay a small surcharge on their monthly electric bills to fund the trust.
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