ENGIE North America, with subsidiary Mt. Tom Solar, has broken ground on a 5.76-megawatt community solar farm in Holyoke, MA, on property which was once home to the coal-burning Mt. Tom Power Station. This solar installation will be the largest community solar project in Massachusetts and will consist of 17,000 solar panels on 22 acres. Mt. Tom Solar will the power to Holyoke Gas & Electric which will sell it to residential and commercial customers through a community solar program.
“My administration appreciates the efforts of all parties in bringing what will be the largest Community Solar Project in Massachusetts to completion by the end of this year,” said Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. “This is an excellent step towards redevelopment of the former Mt. Tom Coal Plant property in a manner consistent with recommendations of the recent site re-use study that was based on significant community input.”
“HG&E is pleased to work with ENGIE on this project which, through the power-purchase agreement, expands our portfolio of low-cost renewable energy and helps us maintain some of the lowest electric rates in the region,” said James Lavelle, manager of Holyoke Gas & Electric.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), community solar has emerged as one of the most rapidly expanding segments of the US solar industry. Now customers from the Holyoke area will have access to this trend in clean energy and can join community programs that reduce electric rates through solar power produced at the utility-scale without having to invest in installing solar panels on their homes, residential rental properties and businesses.
The power purchase agreement (PPA) between ENGIE and Holyoke Gas & Electric will not only diversify the region’s power grid it also begins to fulfill federal and state level mandates for fossil-fuel utilities to reduce their carbon footprint.
“For ENGIE, this project brings the concept of ‘Reduce, Recycle, Reuse’ to life. It’s a unique opportunity to transform this property from a coal plant to a solar farm to serve the local community, and we’re grateful to Holyoke Gas & Electric, the citizens and City of Holyoke, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for their support as we create a new era for this property,” said ENGIE North America President and CEO Frank Demaille.
Similar projects in Massachusetts, one of the fastest growing solar markets in the US, have been proposed or are in advanced stages of development. For example, BlueWave Capital and MS Solar Solutions have partnered to co-invest and co-own a community solar project worth $100 million that will service customers in western and southeastern Massachusetts.Tweet