Mass. flips the switch, two cities go solar

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will turn on the state’s largest privately-owned solar energy park in Westford, Massachusetts. The 4.5 megawatt park is situated on a 22-acre site and will soon be generating power. Swampscott, Mass. and Constellation Energy have also completed an aggregate 450-kilowatt solar generation project at Swampscott Middle School and Swampscott High School.

The Westford project is a $23 million complex, with 14,000 solar panels, and was built by Cathartes Private Investments. The site will be operated by the solar power company Nexamp. Power from the facility will go to the University of Massachusetts in Lowell.

In Swampscott, both schools have been outfitted with rooftop solar panel sites that will not only provide power for the schools but also the town. The town will purchase and receive all of the electricity generated by the solar panels at a fixed rate from Constellation Energy under a 20-year solar services agreement.

“Hosting solar generation is part of the school district’s clean energy initiatives and supports Swampscott’s long term goal to reduce overall energy costs 20 percent by 2015,” said Swampscott interim town administrator Dave Castellarin. “The solar power systems will supply an estimated 19 percent of the school district’s electricity needs annually and help to maintain stable electricity costs over the long term.”

Students and staff can monitor the amount of electricity supplied by the solar power systems via the school district’s website, as well as generation totals by week, month or year.