By Emily Kingston
Eversource is once again turning sunshine into electricity in Springfield, building its third universal solar facility in the city as part of its statewide commitment to renewable energy. Springfield is already home to two Eversource solar plants, one in Indian Orchard and the other on Cottage Street.
“At Eversource, our motto, ‘energy brings us together,’ is especially evident with longstanding partnerships like the one we have with the City of Springfield,” said Eversource Vice President of Business Development Mike Ausere. “We thank our community partners for their help and foresight bringing the benefits of solar power to their city. And we applaud state policymakers for the leadership that’s allowing competitively priced renewable energy to reach an increasing number of homes, businesses and communities across Massachusetts.”
“We have a longstanding partnership with Eversource that’s good for the environment and brings substantial benefits for our residents and their customers,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. “Our collaboration on these solar projects helps us meet important renewable energy goals as well.”
When the new 5.6 megawatt solar facility on Performance Boulevard is complete, this facility along with Eversource’s two other solar plants in Springfield will be capable of producing a total of nearly 12 megawatts of renewable electricity – enough to power approximately 2,000 homes. The energy company’s new facilities across the commonwealth will also represent a significant reduction in greenhouse emissions, equivalent to taking more than 6,000 cars off the road per year. Eversource’s three solar facilities will generate nearly 12 megawatts of clean energy toward the company’s 70 MW statewide goal.
Clean, emission-free energy from the sun also generates significant revenue for host communities. Along with the other benefits the solar facilities bring to Springfield, Eversource estimates it will pay more than $1 million in property taxes to the city annually for its three solar plants. Eversource is already the city’s largest taxpayer, having paid nearly $9 million in 2016 for all of its operations.
Springfield is one of several communities across Massachusetts that will host an Eversource owned and operated universal solar plants, including solar canopies like the one being built at the company’s East Springfield Service Center that, when completed, will be capable of generating close to 2 megawatts of power. Last December, the Department of Public Utilities approved the company’s plan to build on its commitment to clean solar energy, increasing the amount of solar power produced by Eversource in Massachusetts from 8 megawatts currently to a maximum of 70 megawatts statewide.
The sites where new solar power plants are being built in both Western and Eastern Massachusetts have all undergone thorough inspections and analysis, making sure the property is accessible, environmentally suitable, and located where the facility can be interconnected with the local electricity grid. Members of Eversource’s solar and community relations teams met with city and town officials, as well as abutters, to keep them fully informed during the entire selection and construction process.
Along with the significant environmental benefits of increasing the number of utility-owned universal solar facilities in Massachusetts, there are substantial cost-saving benefits for electricity customers as well. The company estimates it will produce solar power for about 18 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to upwards of 50 cents per kilowatt-hour for some private projects currently operating within the commonwealth.
Eversource will sell the solar energy it produces directly into the regional energy market and customers will benefit from the proceeds. Additionally, the company will receive Solar Renewable Energy Credits for the power it produces and will pass the savings along to customers through electricity rates. As a regulated electric utility in Massachusetts, Eversource will not receive net metering credits, which further reduces the price to customers.
Increasing its commitment to solar energy is one of many steps Eversource is taking to benefit the environment. For more information about the energy company’s environmental sustainability policy and programs, visit www.eversource.com.