The city of New Bedford, Mass., cleaned up a contaminated brownfield site next to its high school to make way for the installation of a two-acre solar farm.
This city is also installing a 3.5 MW solar project on city-owned land in Rochester, Mass., which broke ground this spring.
In all, 4.3 MW are now installed or under construction and another 7.1 MW will be officially announced in coming weeks this fall.
The city is undertaking the high school solar project in cooperation with several private-sector partners, including BlueWave Capital and ConEdison Solutions.
ConEdison Solutions owns the solar installations on city sites and has entered into long-term power purchase agreements with the city. Under the agreements ConEdison Solutions assumes responsibility for financing, installation, ongoing operations, and maintenance.
Beaumont Solar Company of New Bedford has designed and installed for Con Edison Solutions several of the solar projects that are already operational. Beaumont will also be installing the project at the high school.
When all projects are completed, New Bedford will have exceeded its 2011 goal of purchasing 10 MW of power from renewable sources. The city has also adopted a long-term goal of purchasing 60 percent of its energy needs from solar sources. Currently, the City has reached 43 percent.
New Bedford is a major purchaser of electricity from the grid, with nearly one hundred city buildings including wastewater and water treatment plants, so the projected energy savings from the projects will generate $500,000 in budget savings next year and nearly $20 million over the next twenty years.
In the case of the high school installation, the project will improve science education through an interactive digital “kiosk” and other tools so teachers can incorporate the solar project into their science lessons.