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First Wind Marks Start of Commercial Operations at Second Largest Solar Project in Massachusetts
|By Business Wire
|June 23, 2014 10:19 AM EDT
Wind, an independent U.S.-based renewable energy company, today
celebrated the end of construction of the Warren Solar project and
announced that commercial operations have begun. In a ceremony that
included state and community leaders, Massachusetts energy officials,
and renewable energy industry representatives, the 14 megawatt (MW) (AC)
Worcester County-based project was recognized not only as joining First
Wind’s 3 MW (AC) Millbury, MA solar project in commercial operations,
but also as part of First Wind’s first solar developments and first
renewable energy projects in its home state of Massachusetts.
“As Massachusetts leads the way in bringing clean energy to homes and
business across the Commonwealth, we are thrilled to have partners like
First Wind provide a financial boost and local benefits to the area,”
said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett.
“With this project, First Wind is contributing to our sustainable future
and helping to reach Governor Patrick’s goal of 1,600 MW installed by
Located at three sites in the town of Warren, MA, construction began in
the fall of 2013 after a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) was
finalized with the University of Massachusetts (UMass). As part of the
PPA, the UMass Lowell campus and UMass Medical School in Worcester will
receive a portion of the financial benefit resulting from the Warren
projects. UMass Lowell and UMass Medical School are expected to avoid an
estimated $410,000 and $670,000 in utility costs per annum, respectively
over the course of the 30-year agreement.
John Baker, UMass Medical School’s associate vice chancellor for
facilities noted, “Since we have limited locations where on-site solar
would work, we are restricted in our ability to do a large on-site solar
installation. When we learned about the virtual net metering program, we
realized instantly that the financial and environmental benefits could
be substantial. The UMass Medical School portion of the First Wind
project will generate enough energy to power roughly 932 homes in New
England annually and produce an estimated $400,000 in savings each year
for the UMass Medical School. We plan to leverage that money and use it
to do more energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.”
“Environmental stewardship is one of our core values and we are proud to
partner with First Wind to expand the amount of clean, renewable energy
available while also realizing financial benefits,” said Tom Dreyer,
UMass Lowell’s associate vice chancellor for facilities. “As a public
higher education institution, we also strive to promote a
sustainability-conscious community. By helping to get clean and cost
competitive energy built we are not only saving money, we’re setting a
powerful example for others to follow.”
This unique relationship is one more aspect of UMass Lowell’s
multi-faceted sustainability and energy conservation program, which also
includes a goal of carbon neutrality, LEED construction, academic
programs and campus community involvement. Competitive
Energy Services, with an office in Topsfield Massachusetts, advised
UMass Lowell and UMass Medical School on the Warren and Millbury
Now that both the Warren and Millbury Solar projects have started
operations and begun to generate power, First Wind will make annual tax
payments of $50,000 to the town of Millbury and $130,000 annually in tax
payments to the town of Warren. In addition, the towns of Millbury and
Orange, MA will realize annual energy savings by receiving a smaller
portion of the energy generated through net metering agreements.
“First Wind’s Warren solar project not only delivers clean, renewable
energy, but it also serves as an economic boost for local economies,”
said Representative Todd M. Smola. “I am pleased and proud that the
Commonwealth is making such progress in securing a more affordable
energy future for our citizens.”
Borrego Solar Systems, Inc. led construction of both the Warren and
Millbury the projects, which created roughly 85 construction-related
jobs. Both projects represent a significant investment in the
surrounding communities and local economies, along with millions of
dollars in construction, materials and development costs.
“We are very pleased to complete work on our Warren Solar project, which
represents our second solar project to achieve successful commercial
operations,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. “Not only are we
contributing to the state’s aggressive energy goals, but we are also
able to directly benefit the surrounding communities with financial and
clean energy advantages. Massachusetts is a national leader in embracing
renewable energy, and it is a testament to our partners and leaders
throughout the Commonwealth that our first solar endeavor has achieved
success here in our home state.”
The Warren and Millbury projects are the first solar projects that are
part of the First Wind Solar Group, which was formed to explore
potential development opportunities across the company’s current
footprint in the Northeast, the West and Hawaii. In addition, First Wind
Solar Group is also developing a 20 MW (AC) solar project in Mililani,
Hawaii, as well as 340 MW (AC) across multiple project sites in Utah
through PPAs with Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp.
About First Wind
First Wind is an independent renewable energy company exclusively
focused on the development, financing, construction, ownership and
operation of utility-scale renewable energy projects in the United
States. Based in Boston, First Wind is operating or building renewable
energy projects in the Northeast, the West and Hawaii, with combined
capacity of nearly 1,300 megawatts (MW) – enough to power more than
375,000 homes each year. For more information on First Wind, please
or follow us on Twitter @FirstWind.
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