Southern Sky Renewable Energy News

Town officials report water/sewer, electrical savings

By Mike Berger

August 8, 2013

Selectmen received good financial news on many fronts Tuesday night with word that the town is getting a large grant and a pair of interest-free loans from the Mass. Water Resources Authority while also realizing a significant energy savings from the Pine Street solar facility.

The only bit of negative news involved the town’s disbursement of Chapter 90 roadway funds as the governor has yet to release some $400,000 (part of a $100 million increase approved in the FY14 state budget).

Finance Director Jim Murgia said the two MWRA loans are for rehabilitation of the Tolman Street water tank ($1.09 million) and sewer inflow and infiltration work ($566,000). The town was also awarded an additional grant from the MWRA in the amount of $463,500 that will go toward inflow and infiltration work.

Murgia and selectmen praised the efforts of DPW Superintendent Mike Trotta and Town Engineer Jim Donovan, who applied for the loans and grant. With the two loans, Murgia said the town will not have to pay interest rates of between 3 and 4 percent and will save residents money in the long run with lower water and sewer rates.

Town Administrator Bill Friel also informed selectmen that the owner of the solar farm, Southern Sky Renewable Energy, has been on time with its lease payments after nearly a year of operation. Southern Sky signed a 20-year agreement that pays the town between $300,000 and $430,000 per year. Friel said the town has also saved $41,000 in electricity costs through a separate 20-year net-metering agreement, whereby the town purchases credits that are generated when the solar panels produce electricity.

Regarding the Chapter 90 money, the state had originally committed a little more than $1 million in road repair funds, but Friel and Murgia said the latest budget figures show the town receiving $770,320 with the remainder being held by the state. The town has already committed money to repave Chapman Street from Spaulding to Neponset Street, Jackson Street, Beaumont Street, Woodlock and Shawnlee roads, the parking lot at the DPW garage on Bolivar Street, and Legion, Beatty, May and Porter streets.

Friel said selectmen will decide whether the DPW will resurface Pleasant Street to Reservoir Pond or from Devoll Field to the Stoughton town line. He said there is enough money to do one of the projects but not both until the governor releases the additional $400,000 to the town.

In other news, Friel announced that the building lot at 35 Turnpike Street (near Sassamon Street) is now in the control of the town through a foreclosure and Probate Court action. The town will go through an auction process in late September. Friel said the property is assessed at $390,000 and two houses could be built on the land. The town has hired a private contractor to clean up the interior and exterior of the property and will remove junk vehicles. An auction date and initial bidding price will be announced. Friel said the town is owed $273,000 in back taxes and will keep the auction proceeds.

In other news:

* Selectman John Connolly announced the retirement of NStar liaison Barry Salvucci.

* Selectmen received a letter from Fire Chief Charlie Doody thanking Interstate Wrecking Service for helping to get two fire engines back to the station. The engines are now in good working order. Doody said that Interstate Wrecking is a good neighbor to the Fire Department as both are located on Revere Street.

* Selectmen will next meet on Tuesday, August 13, at 7 p.m. and will formally announce the members of the Reservoir Pond Advisory Committee. Selectmen were due to announce the appointments Tuesday night but decided to delay it another week until Selectman Bob Burr returns.

Full article, here.

Sungrow supplies inverters for first utility-scale US project

By Ben Willis, PV-Tech

June 28, 2013

Chinese inverter manufacturer Sungrow Power Supply has secured its first utility-scale order in the USA.

Solar developer Southern Sky Renewable Energy has purchased 10 Sungrow SG500LV inverters for its 6MW Ravenbrook Landfill Solar Project in Carver, Massachusetts.

The project will be the second the company has developed on a former landfill site. Last year it completed 5.75MW solar installation on another landfill site in Canton, Massachusetts (see image, left).

Manny Sakellakis, executive partner of SDL Solar, Sungrow’s US agent, said: “We are very excited to be the first to bring Sungrow to the US market. As the landscape of the solar inverter market changes rapidly, I believe that Sungrow will capture a significant share of the US market in very short time.”

“The US solar market is one of the larger, more stable markets in the world, and crucial to Sungrow’s long-term growth strategy,” added Cao Renxian, CEO of Sungrow Power Supply.

Read the article here.

Town turns trash dump into utility savings, revenue steam

By Jennifer Hill, Senior Writer

This article first appeared in the February 2013 issue of the Novogradac
Journal of Tax Credits.

For more than three decades, the town of Canton, Mass. sought a way to reuse a 44-acre parcel of land that was formerly a landfill. After the landfill was capped in the late 1980s, the town explored a range of recreational possibilities for the site, but rejected those ideas due to exposure risks for users. Meanwhile, the town continued to pay thousands of dollars each year to ensure that its unused piece of property was not contaminating
adjacent properties’ groundwater. Then in the late 2000s, state regulations regarding landfill reuse relaxed as part of an effort to encourage renewable energy projects. Town leaders seized the chance to turn the former garbage dump into a place that, instead of consuming fiscal and land resources, would produce revenue and solar renewable energy.

“We saw an opportunity not only to reduce our electric costs on a townwide basis, but also to have a new recurring revenue stream coming in via lease payments,” said William Friel, town administrator, who noted that the town’s electricity costs are nearly $1 million a year. In 2011, the town issued a request for proposals to finance, develop and maintain ground-mounted solar panels on a flat, 15.5-acre portion of the capped landfill. It
awarded the contract to Boston-based solar developer Southern Sky Renewable Energy (SSRE), which specializes in projects on landfills and brownfields. The 5.78-megawatt solar development, which began generating electricity in August 2012, is the largest solar facility in the Northeast, according to SSRE.

The Canton solar facility consists of 19,500 solar modules and has a generation capacity of 7 million kilowatt-hours (kWhs). Although town-owned buildings are not directly using the electricity produced by the system, it is expected to create enough net-metering credits to offset up to 75 percent of the town’s annual electricity costs. Under a 25-year net-metering credit purchase agreement (NMCPA) between SSRE and Canton, solar energy is produced at the landfill and transported to the grid. Each kWh produced generates net-metering credits from the local utility.
Those credits will be allocated to the usage accounts for the 10 highest energy-consuming municipal facilities, including the ice skating rink, two water treatment plants, the high school and the police station. Depending on the variable cost of electricity, the town estimates that it could see as much as $40 million in utility savings over the life of the system, in addition to $300,000 a year in land lease payments from SSRE.

Because of the way the project financing and the NMCPA were structured, no capital investment for the $28 million system was required from the town. SSRE safe-harbored the project under the Section 1603 cash grant program, and at the time of this writing the developer was awaiting the Treasury’s final approval of its application. Seminole Financial Services provided the construction loan, which will convert to permanent debt after
receipt of the grant. Based on the system’s production, SSRE will also receive solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) that it can sell either through an auction or directly to Massachusetts utilities. Additionally, it will receive electricity payments from the town.

According to Frank McMahon, principal at SSRE, this type of project can be reproduced without the Section 1603 program; however, the availability of virtual net-metering or similar types of feed-in tariff systems is critical. “Virtual net-metering is almost a must for turning those non-revenue producing assets into revenue-producing assets,” he said. SSRE is in the process of developing projects on two other Massachusetts landfills.

“People are starting to realize that they have assets that are sitting there doing nothing. We’re offering lease payments and savings on utility,” McMahon said. “We’re looking to replicate these kinds of projects wherever landfills and brownfields are.”

 

Canton solar facility officially up and running

By Jay Turner

October 25, 2012

After more than two years of planning and development, the Canton landfill solar facility — a project that has been both lauded as a “win-win” by town officials and skewered as a “ticking time bomb” by the local electrical workers’ union — is now officially up and running, according to project developer Southern Sky Renewable Energy.

While a formal opening ceremony for the facility has yet to be held, the new 5.6-megawatt solar farm, located at the former town-owned landfill on Pine Street, has actually been in continuous operation for nearly three months with no setbacks, reported Southern Sky principal owner Frank McMahon.

“We had our last witness test with NStar in August and received an authorization to proceed,” said McMahon. “The connection is now complete, and we have been producing electricity since August 3.”

The facility, consisting of nearly 20,000 solar photovoltaic panels spread out over 15 acres of the capped landfill, is currently the largest of its kind in all of New England, to be eclipsed only by Southern Sky’s second project — a 6-megawatt facility planned on a similar landfill site in Carver.

But whether or not it is the largest or second largest, McMahon said the Canton facility is a landmark in solar development and, contrary to the claims of some of its critics, is still a “great economic deal for the town of Canton.”

As part of a 20-year agreement signed with Southern Sky, the town will receive annual lease payments ranging from $300,000 to over $430,000, and Southern Sky has also agreed to cover capping and drainage costs amounting to $165,000.

Beyond the guaranteed lease payments, the town is also expected to save thousands annually on its electrical bill, although the amount of that savings will greatly depend on the market price of electricity in the years to come.

McMahon said the solar facility does not actually power town-owned buildings. Instead, the panels generate millions of kilowatt hours in “net-metering credits,” which the town has agreed to purchase from Southern Sky, presumably at a lower rate than it is currently paying.

McMahon said the specifics of how the net-metering credits are applied to town meters and how it is billed to the town is still being finalized by NStar.

“We are in the process right this minute of finalizing the billing,” he said.

Selectmen Chairman Bob Burr also confirmed that the process is underway, while adding that the solar farm is online and “there’s nothing further that needs to be negotiated.”

“The only delays, if there are delays, are a reconciliation of the invoicing process whereby the town of Canton is getting a net metering credit,” said Burr. “This is a new technology for NStar, so there’s a process that needs to be worked out as to how we get the net-metering credit. The solar farm, from my understanding, needed to be online for a certain period of time to determine exactly what those are and how they should be credited to the town.”

In a separate matter involving the solar facility, neither Burr nor McMahon expressed much concern over a recent decision by the state Board of Electrical Examiners to penalize Southern Sky’s contractor, Gemma Renewable Power, for employing non-licensed electricians to install the metal racking system in violation of Massachusetts law.

The board’s ruling, which is subject to an appeal by the contractor, was issued in July in response to a complaint filed by the IBEW Local 103, one of the solar farm’s most outspoken critics. The union, which is responsible for the website CantonSolarExposed.com, had previously mailed two postcards warning residents of a “time bomb” in Canton and accusing Gemma of shoddy workmanship.

As further evidence of the latter, the IBEW has also pointed to an investigation by the state Department of Environmental Protection in which DEP officials learned that the contractor had installed vertical grounding rods through the cap of the landfill. The matter has since been resolved; however, Sean Callaghan, business agent for Local 103, told the Citizen in July that it was a “poor decision” that could have created “serious hazards for everyone in the immediate area.”

From McMahon’s vantage point, however, the issue with the grounding rods was “insignificant” and boiled down to a simple difference of opinion. As for the recent ruling by the electrical examiners, he said it has no impact on the project whatsoever and insisted that the “IBEW’s charges are without merit.”

“Gemma has taken a very, very hard legal stand. They are represented by counsel and they’re fighting back,” said McMahon, adding that “even in a worst-case scenario, the penalty is a fine and a very diminutive fine.”

Asked about the town’s response to the ruling, Burr said he was not aware of any legal impediments and that nothing has been communicated to the town.

“As far as we’re concerned,” he said, “the solar farm is online, and the contract as we understand it is being executed in good faith and we’re moving forward.”

Despite the many challenges and criticisms that the project has endured over the past two years, McMahon said Southern Sky officials are “very happy with the final outcome” and consider the solar farm a great success.

“It is the crown jewel of solar projects on closed landfills in the northeast,” he said.

McMahon also praised Canton officials for their professionalism and responsiveness, and he thanked the town’s residents for their ongoing support of the solar farm.

“It’s a great thing and we’re very proud to be the developers of this project,” he said.

See the original article, here.

Solar power soars to new heights in Berkley

Christopher Nichols

July 14, 2012

With three large solar farms pending, Berkley is set to be the top community in solar capacity in the state, according to Berkley Selectmen Chair George Miller.

The three solar farms are set to have a total capacity of about 12 megawatts and will be linked to the Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant (TMLP) once completed.

“Overall, it’s clean energy. You’re looking at promoting an eco-friendly way to provide electricity,” Miller said. “One of the town’s goals is to be on the forefront of these projects, and at least for the time being, we’ll have more megawatt generation than any other city or town in Massachusetts.”

A megawatt, which is equal to 1,000 kilowatts, on average provides an hour’s worth of energy for 1,000 homes.

At a Special Town Meeting on March 28, voters approved a 6-megawatt solar farm on town-owned land at 49 South Main St. The 30- to 35-acre solar farm is set to consist of 20,000 3-by-5-foot solar photovoltaic panels — making it one of the largest solar farms in Massachusetts.

Southern Sky Renewable Energy — the company constructing the town’s solar farm — also completed a 5.75-megawatt solar farm in Canton earlier this year.

“I do not know of any other project in the commonwealth that was bigger than Canton,” said Frank McMahon, a partner at Southern Sky.

McMahon said Berkley’s 6-megawatt solar farm will match another 6-megawatt farm being constructed in Carver.

“Berkley’s project will be one of the biggest in the state,” McMahon said.

Berkley is set to make $5,974,960 off the lease of the land, $789,200 from the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement — both over the course of 25 years — and $40,000 to $50,000 from building and electrical permitting fees when the solar farm is constructed.

Selectman Steve Castellina noted that the town currently pays about $116,000 per year on mortgage and interest on the 49 South Main St. parcel, so leasing the land to Southern Sky for the purposes of constructing the solar farm was a great way to reduce costs and generate revenue for the town.

“We want to make it income-producing land,” Castellina said.

Southern Sky is currently in the process of negotiating an interconnection agreement and a power purchase agreement with TMLP. Mike Horrigan, general manager for TMLP, said negotiations are moving forward, and he expects the parties to reach these agreements in the near future.

“Everything’s coming along great,” McMahon said.

Besides the town solar project, two private solar farms are also in the process of completion in Berkley: One at Haskins Farms on Padelford Street and one on Myricks Street. Both solar farms are set to have a capacity of about 3 megawatts.

“There are multiple benefits for the town,” said Miller. “The first obvious benefit is the PILOT. We’re in the process of negotiating agreements now (for the private farms)… The second benefit for us is we’re able to take significant parcels out of potential for residential development.”

Both Miller and Castellina noted that the town will make more money off of solar farms than off a residential development; the latter could put a strain on education expenses in a town that’s already seen its share of financial struggles.

Read the full article.

JinkoSolar, Southern Sky Renewable Energy LLC revitalize former Canton landfill with 5.75 MW of solar power

Installation converts brownfield into $16.3M revenue-generating source of clean energy

CANTON, Mass. – June 26, 2012 – JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. (“JinkoSolar” or the  “Company”) (NYSE: JKS), a fast-growing, agile global solar power product manufacturer, today announced that the company will supply its modules to a 5.75MW array of solar panels located on the site of the former Canton landfill in Canton, MA. In partnership with Boston-based renewable energy project developer Southern Sky Renewable Energy LLC (SSRE), the project brings life to the two decades-long unused space, serving as a valuable revenue generator and clean power solution for the local community.

The Canton landfill project is part of a growing movement to revitalize abandoned, underused industrial areas known as “brownfields” and convert them into economically productive, clean power-generating sites. JinkoSolar worked with New England-based ISM Solar Solutions, LLC and SSRE to design and implement a solar panel array that maximizes energy generation capacity for the 15-acre site. The facility was constructed by Gemma Renewable Power, LLC, a nationally recognized Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor that provides a full range of services to owners and developers of renewable energy projects.  Upon completion later this year, the solar array will produce enough solar energy to generate $16.3M in property lease and energy generation revenue for the town of Canton.

“Hundreds of closed landfills across the state are sitting idle when they can, in fact, be turned into major sources of revenue. For communities like Canton that are in dire need of tangible economic growth, solar power arrays provide a major opportunity,”said Francis X. McMahon, managing director of SSRE. “With this opportunity in mind, we opted for JinkoSolar’s ground-mounted solar panels because they provide a non-invasive, topographical solution that is perfectly designed for this type of project. We look forward to showcasing this project as a case study for a new, environmentally-sound direction for communities like Canton.”

The town of Cantonexplored several options for repurposing the former landfill site, many of which they rejected due to capital intensity. In 2010, following a request for proposals for the landfill solar project, Canton selected SSRE’s proposal. After analyzing the revenue generation potential, various town boards reviewed and signed off on the $25 million project that incorporates 19,844 JinkoSolar solar modules – making it one of the largest solar electric developments in New England.

“Redevelopment projects like this bring a multitude of benefits to local communities, in addition to the inherent advantages of clean, renewable power generation,” said Arturo Herrero, Chief Marketing Officer at JinkoSolar. “As a global company with a vested interest in the communities where we do business, we strive to partake in sustainable solutions that are economically – and environmentally – viable in the long run. We are proud to be a part of this project in partnership with SSRE because it sets the stage for a new era of vitality in Canton.”

“Our price- and quality-sensitive arrangements with technology suppliers around the world ensure that we get the job done right, and on time,” said Greg Lucini, CEO of ISM Solar Solutions, LLC, which facilitated the working partnership between JinkoSolar and SSRE.“Canton was a smooth project from start to finish, thanks to our reputable partners JinkoSolar and SSRE.”

SSRE has signed on for a 25-year lease to operate the Canton landfill solar site, which is expected to come online in the summer of 2012.

About JinkoSolar
JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. (NYSE: JKS) is a fast-growing, agile global solar power product manufacturer with cost efficient operations based in Jiangxi Province and Zhejiang Province in China and sales and marketing offices in Shanghai, China, Singapore, Munich, Germany, San Francisco, U.S., Queensland, Australia, Ontario, Canada, Bologna, Italy, Montpellier, France and Zug, Switzerland. JinkoSolar has built a global solar product value chain with an integrated annual capacity of approximately 1.2GW each for silicon ingots, wafers, solar cells and solar modules as of December 31, 2011. JinkoSolar distributes its photovoltaic products to a diversified customer base in the global PV market; including Italy, Germany, Belgium, Spain, the United States, France, Eastern Europe, China and other countries and regions.

About Southern Sky Renewable Energy (SSRE)
Southern Sky Renewable Energy, LLC is a Boston, MA based solar development company.  Southern Sky Renewable Energy is currently developing solar PV projects in Canton, MA, Carver, MA and Berkley, MA.

About ISM Solar Solutions, LLC
ISM Solar Solutions is the renewable energy division of International Sourcing & Marketing, Ltd (ISM).  Since 1987 ISM has provided product sourcing and manufacturing solutions to the world’s leading technology companies. ISM is based in Providence, Rhode Island with offices in China, India, Philippines, Thailand and Europe.

About Gemma Renewable Power, LLC
Gemma Renewable Power (GRP) is a national Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) organization that specializes in the construction of renewable energy projects.  The company has completed a range of utility scale wind and solar projects across the country. GRP is currently engaged in the construction of both wind and solar projects in western Illinois, Massachusetts and central Pennsylvania. Gemma Renewable Power is an affiliate of Gemma Power Systems, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Argan, Inc. ( NYSE MKT: AGX).

Safe Harbor Statement
This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “will,” “anticipates,” “future,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates” and similar statements. Such statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in JinkoSolar’s public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April18, 2012. All information provided in this press release is as of June 26 2012. Except as required by law, JinkoSolar undertakes no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.Read the full article.

PV Magazine: JinkoSolar, Southern Sky Renewable Energy revitalize former Canton landfill with 5.75 MW of solar power

June 27, 2012

JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd today announced that the company will supply its modules to a 5.75 MW array of solar panels located on the site of the former Canton landfill in Canton, MA.

In partnership with Boston-based renewable energy project developer Southern Sky Renewable Energy LLC (SSRE), the project brings life to the two decades-long unused space, serving as a valuable revenue generator and clean power solution for the local community.

The Canton landfill project is part of a growing movement to revitalize abandoned, underused industrial areas known as “brownfields” and convert them into economically productive, clean power-generating sites. JinkoSolar worked with New England-based ISM Solar Solutions, LLC and SSRE to design and implement a solar panel array that maximizes energy generation capacity for the 15-acre site.

The facility was constructed by Gemma Renewable Power, LLC, a nationally recognized Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor that provides a full range of services to owners and developers of renewable energy projects.  Upon completion later this year, the solar array will produce enough solar energy to generate $16.3M in property lease and energy generation revenue for the town of Canton.

“Hundreds of closed landfills across the state are sitting idle when they can, in fact, be turned into major sources of revenue. For communities like Canton that are in dire need of tangible economic growth, solar power arrays provide a major opportunity,”said Francis X. McMahon, managing director of SSRE. “With this opportunity in mind, we opted for JinkoSolar’s ground-mounted solar panels because they provide a non-invasive, topographical solution that is perfectly designed for this type of project. We look forward to showcasing this project as a case study for a new, environmentally-sound direction for communities like Canton.”

The town of Canton explored several options for repurposing the former landfill site, many of which they rejected due to capital intensity. In 2010, following a request for proposals for the landfill solar project, Canton selected SSRE’s proposal. After analyzing the revenue generation potential, various town boards reviewed and signed off on the $25 million project that incorporates 19,844 JinkoSolar solar modules – making it one of the largest solar electric developments in New England.

“Redevelopment projects like this bring a multitude of benefits to local communities, in addition to the inherent advantages of clean, renewable power generation,” said Arturo Herrero, Chief Marketing Officer at JinkoSolar. “As a global company with a vested interest in the communities where we do business, we strive to partake in sustainable solutions that are economically – and environmentally – viable in the long run. We are proud to be a part of this project in partnership with SSRE because it sets the stage for a new era of vitality in Canton.”

“Our price- and quality-sensitive arrangements with technology suppliers around the world ensure that we get the job done right, and on time,” said Greg Lucini, CEO of ISM Solar Solutions, LLC, which facilitated the working partnership between JinkoSolar and SSRE.“Canton was a smooth project from start to finish, thanks to our reputable partners JinkoSolar and SSRE.”

SSRE has signed on for a 25-year lease to operate the Canton landfill solar site, which is expected to come online in the summer of 2012.

Read the full article.

Cleantechnica.com: Solar power rises from city dump

By Tina Casey
June 27, 2012

JinkoSolar is going to provide the solar cells for a new 5.75 megawatt solar array that will be built on the site of a former landfill in Canton, Massachusetts. The site had been derelict for more than 20 years, and struggling towns and cities across the U.S. might want to take a look at Canton to see how solar power could help them generate new revenue from abandoned properties.

Clean Energy from Brown Fields

The Canton site is just the tip of the solar iceberg. The U.S. EPA has identified a whopping 14 million acres of abandoned industrial sites (aka brownfields) and Superfund sites that could be put to use generating solar power or wind power.

It’s part of a program called Re-Powering America’s Land, which the Obama Administration rolled out back in 2010.

The initiative gives you a sustainability three-for-one. Aside from generating renewable energy and potentially bringing some revenue into depressed areas, Re-Powering America’s Land is designed to clean up and repurpose local eyesores, and create new green jobs in local communities.

From Landfill to Solar Power

The 15-acre Canton site will be constructed by Gemma Renewable Power. Once completed it will generate revenue for the city to the tune of $16.3 million, representing lease of the property and sale of the electricity.

One interesting aspect of the project is JinkoSolar’s use of a ground-mounted system for the array’s 19,844 solar panels. This kind of “non-invasive” mounting system is needed to reduce the risk of subsurface disruptions that could weaken the integrity of the landfill cap.

It’s also interesting to note that Canton officials considered other options for use of the site. The solar array won out partly because it offered the highest return with a relatively low investment. The fact that it will be up and running within the year is also a plus.

Read the full article.

Carver takes a shine to solar energy

By Alice Elwell
May 24, 2012
.
The town of Carver is plugging into the solar energy business by lining Route 44 with 330 solar panels.
.

But the town’s project is going to be outshined by a 6-megawatt installation on the privately owned Ravenbrook landfill on Plymouth Street. A third solar farm in Carver, with about one megawatt of generating capacity, has been approved for a cranberry bog owned by Michael Paduch off Route 58.

The town received a $150,000 federal economic stimulus grant and an easement from the state Department of Transportation to erect the panels on state land to power the treatment plant for the North Carver Water District. SolareAmerica, a Pennsylvania-based energy company, is building the $500,000 solar array and covering the remaining construction costs in exchange for a 30-percent federal tax credit.

The highly-visible, 99-kilowatt project will not impede driving along Route 44. John Scorsone, president of Solare, said it is a common misconception that panels produce glare. “Solar panels are designed to absorb, not to reflect,” Scorsone said.

Construction has begun and is expected to be complete by June 30, but Scorsone said it’s up to NStar when the power goes online.

Town Planner Jack Hunter said the utility savings will be used to pay off the water district’s $5 million debt.

The 6-megawatt solar array that has been approved on the capped Ravenbrook landfill on Plymouth Street is on land owned by Willard A. Rhodes.

That project is projected to generate $2.2 million in payment in lieu of taxes over the next 25 years, and pay back Rhodes’ $246,925 in back taxes, which have been delinquent since 2000, said Carver tax collector John Franey.

It will cost $18 million to $23 million to install 21,000 panels at the Ravenbrook array, said Francis McMahon, managing director of Southern Sky Renewable Energy, LLC of Boston. The developer leased the landfill from Rhodes. McMahon said construction will begin in July, with a goal of going online by the end of the year.

The Ravenbrook project is not the first for Southern Sky. McMahon said the company is also installing 19,800 panels on a capped landfill in Canton, He said that $23 million array, which will produce 5.75 megawatts of power, will go online this summer.

For now, Carver will not give out any more local tax breaks to solar farms until a bylaw is developed. Town meeting voters in February approved a moratorium for new installations until Dec. 31, Hunter said.

Read the full article.

Electric Sunshine to tell Canton solar energy story

By Guest

January 11, 2012

Canton Green Team Chairman Kevin Sullivan is pleased to announce the creation of a series of short courses, entitled Electric Sunshine Lights Canton, that will chart the development of two local solar projects — a rooftop solar installation on the Hemenway building on Washington Street and a large, ground-based solar park under construction at the former landfill on Pine Street.

Sullivan said the easy-to-follow and entertaining courses are being developed by Owens & Company, a merchant bank, which has served global energy companies and world governments and institutions since 1974. Sullivan explained that Owens & Company is developing the short courses as a community service to Canton. Charles Owens, chairman of Owens & Company, is a member of the Canton Green Team.

“Canton’s leadership in solar energy could provide momentum for local economic expansion and job growth in clean energy technologies for many years. We call it ‘CanTech,’” Owens said, describing the products and services of the Energy Center he envisions for Canton.

Canton resident Janet Bourikas is developing the short courses on Electric Sunshine under contract with Owens & Company.

“Development of the short course about the solar installation on the Hemenway rooftop is underway with the cooperation of Canton Housing Authority Director Mark Roy and his staff,” Bourikas said. “We will develop the second course about the Pine Street solar park with the cooperation of town government and the developer of the solar park.”

Southern Sky Renewable Energy Canton LLC is the developer. The general contractor is Gemma Renewable Power LLC, which is wholly owned by Argan, Inc. of Rockville, Maryland.

Bourikas said she hopes to involve local teachers in development of the short courses.

“Our target audience is everyone, of course, and especially high school students like the members of Canton’s Green Team Auxiliary,” she said.

The Green Team Auxiliary is made up of Canton High School students who are promoting adoption of the Stretch Energy Code at the upcoming annual town meeting in April. If the Stretch Energy Code is passed, Canton can earn state grants of approximately $150,000 annually. Last year, Easton received $168,000 and Dedham received $179,800 from the state.

Sullivan is a project director with Fuss & O’Neill, a full-service engineering and design firm founded in 1924.

“Our firm proudly participates in the Green Revolution,” Sullivan said. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with [Bourikas] to improve everyone’s understanding of these examples of what the Green Revolution can mean to Canton.”

Sullivan added that “Canton’s Green Team is the finest assembly of energy experts in the history of Canton.”

Besides Sullivan and Owens, Green Team members include Bruce Rohr, CEO and president of Practical Solar, Inc. and founder of Cambridge Technology, Inc., and Ed Kodzis, president and CEO of Minglewood Associates Inc., which is headquartered in Canton.

Rohr is a member of the Canton Conservation Commission and is a leader of Voters for the Preservation of Canton, which is campaigning for adoption of the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act (CPA). This proposition will appear on the ballot in the upcoming town election scheduled for April 3.

The CPA enables cities and towns in Massachusetts to create a local dedicated fund for historic preservation, community housing and outdoor recreation projects. Adoption of the CPA will allow the town of Canton to receive funds each year from the state’s Community Preservation Trust Fund to help underwrite local projects. Canton would receive approximately $452,600 annually following acceptance of the CPA.

Canton’s Green Team is appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The team’s mission is to promote initiatives in clean technologies and related services in such areas as solar, wind, recycling and hydroelectricity, and to seek grants for activities that provide opportunities for job growth and expansion of Canton’s leadership in alternative and renewable energy technologies.

Read the full article

Reference in Canton Citizen: Canton recalls top stories of 2011: The year in government

By Jay Turner

January 5, 2012

Besides an eventful town meeting, the past year also saw the town become a leader in alternative energy and “green” technology, punctuated by a 25-year deal with Southern Sky Renewable Energy to build a massive solar farm — reportedly the largest in New England — at the site of the former Pine Street landfill. The project will generate $300,000 per year in lease payments as well as millions more in potential energy savings over the life of the contract. Construction on the project is already underway and it should be completed sometime in 2012.

Read the full article

Boston Globe: “Sun shines on energy project”

By Elaine Cushman Carroll

December 18, 2011

Construction has begun on the largest solar energy farm in New England, which will place about 19,800 photovoltaic panels on the capped landfill near Pine Street. Selectmen chairman John J. Connolly said the project is expected to generate about $9.85 million for the town over the course of a 25-year lease, and result in lower energy costs. The town is leasing the previously unused land to Southern Sky Renewable Energy, which recently worked out the final details of providing power to NStar, Connolly said. “We really don’t have to do anything; we just sit back and lease them the land,” he said. The $16.6 million construction project has been awarded to Gemma Renewable Power. The panels will cover about 12.5 acres of the 40-acre landfill and the facility is expected to be completed by next summer.

Read the full article

Wicked Local: “Solar farm to rise & shine in Canton by summer”

By Ruth Douillette

December 15, 2011

Canton — If the weather cooperates, Canton’s solar farm – the first in Massachusetts – will begin generating electricity by June or July 2012. It also will generate a significant revenue stream for the town.

In March 2010, Canton seized an opportunity to turn 12.5 acres of the capped Pine Street landfill into a solar farm that will bring additional revenue to the town.

Town Administrator Bill Friel said the lease payments for the first year alone would be $300,000. Over the course of the 20-year lease, the solar farm would bring more than $1.9 million into Canton’s coffers.

In addition, Canton will receive energy credits from NSTAR for electricity the farm generates that will be used to offset the electricity costs of schools and municipal buildings.

Friel said that not only is the solar farm environmentally sound in reducing the use of fossil fuels, but it also allows Canton predictability in its energy costs based on the price of electricity, which will be capped below inflationary costs.

Frank McMahon of Southern Sky Renewable Energy (SSRE), the company in charge of the project, said construction began Dec. 5. By early January, the supporting structure for the solar panels, called racking, will be built.

The solar panels will begin arriving on site by the third week in January until a total of 19,800 panels have been installed.

Sometime in early spring, the converters will be connected, before going live sometime in early summer.

“We’re looking to begin operation in June or July. The big issue is the weather,” McMahon said.

“The town is incurring no cost whatsoever,” Friel said. “It’s all managed by Southern Sky. We’re not spending any town money. It’s the perfect equation – only money comes in; none goes out.”

Selectwoman Avril Elkhorn said the money and effort to cap the landfill properly with clean fill back in 1989 paid off well.

Read the full article

Canton Patch: “Canton is Closer to Renewable Energy from Solar Farm”

Canton selectmen received updates on the Solar Farm project Tuesday night.

By Lisa Gentes

December 15, 2011

 

Canton Board of Selectmen 2011, Credit Lisa Gentes

Get ready for some renewable energy this summer, Canton.

At Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, the board heard updates on the construction of the town’s renewable energy project. Representatives from Solar Sky Renewable Energy updated the selectmen on the Solar Farm, located on the site of the town’s former landfill on Pine Street.

Preliminary site work has begun on the project, according to Town Administrator Bill Friel.

“We are pleased to be able to” build the largest solar farm in New England, Southern Sky Renewable Energy Attorney Frank McMahon said.

Construction began on the site on December 5, McMahon said. The panels will be delivered to the site in January, he said.

A total of 19,800 solar panels will be used in this project, he noted.

McMahon said he hopes, with good weather, the solar farm will be operational by June or July 2012.

“We’re ready to move forward,” he told the board.

Once the solar farm is completed, it will have the honors of being the first in the state, and the largest of all the solar projects in the Bay State, McMahon noted.

The town is leasing 15 acres of the landfill to SSRE for $20,000 an acre, giving the town $300,000 of lease-generated revenue in the first year of the 20-year pact (there is also a five-year option to make this a potential 25-year deal.) The lease rate increases at a 2.5 percent clip every year, giving the town the opportunity to take in more than $10 million over the course of the deal. Canton stands to make an additional $750,000 over the course of the 25-year period through a rebate agreement.

The construction is paid for by SSRE, and no money from the town is being used for the project or for maintenance, according to Friel.

-Patch Editor Jeffrey Pickette contributed to this report.

Read the full article

Reference in Canton Citizen: “Town negotiates conditions to soften blow of Roseland project”

By Mike Berger

December 14, 2011

Excerpt:

Southern Sky Renewable Energy reported that it has begun construction of the 19,800 solar panels at the former town landfill, and depending on the weather, it could be operational and manufacturing electricity as early as June 2012. Town Administrator Bill Friel said the town will be receiving the first of 25 annual lease payments of $300,000 and an opportunity to save on electrical costs. Every kilowatt manufactured by the solar plant will be sent to NSTAR, and a portion will be given to the town in the form of net metering credits.

Read the full article

FOX 25 News: “Canton Using Landfill for Solar Project”

 

Associated Press: “Mass. towns putting solar panels on old landfills”

By Steve LeBlanc / Associated Press

February 21, 2011

BOSTON – For decades, Canton residents hauled their trash to the local landfill. Then, 25 years ago, it was capped, covered with a lining and buried under a layer of soil and grass.

The land lay unused until last year, when the town decided to turn the former dump into what officials say will be the largest solar array in New England.

Across the state, dozens of other cash-strapped communities are also hoping to install solar panels on their landfills. Massachusetts, which requires utilities to purchase a percentage of power from renewable sources, is hoping to spark a national trend.

Victor Del Vecchio, chairman of Canton’s Board of Selectmen, said the town began accepting bids for the solar project last year after it decided that plunking panels on the landfills made sense. He said that over the next 25 years, the projects could generate up to $70 million for the town from a combination of new revenues and energy savings.

“From our perspective, it’s a no-brainer,” he said.

Southern Sky Renewable Energy, the company that plans to install the 24,000 three-foot by five-foot panels, is also hoping to cash in. The panels are expected to generate up to 5.6 megawatts of power by 2012, making it the largest installation in the region.

Southern Sky Managing Director Frank McMahon said the project is the company’s first on a landfill.

“We’re hoping to start construction in late spring, based on snow and a final agreement with NStar,” said McMahon, referring to the utility that will buy the power.

The key to the project’s finances is the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Certificates program, established to help the state reach a goal of producing 250 megawatts of solar power by 2017. The state is currently producing about 76 megawatts.

Massachusetts requires utilities to purchase at least 6 percent of their power from new renewable energy sources in order to boost the state’s reliance on “green” energy. Solar renewable energy certificates are one way of helping increase those energy sources.

Under the program, solar projects generate one solar credit for each megawatt hour. Those credits are then sold at auction to utilities that need them to help meet their renewable goals.

To guarantee the value of the credits, the state sets a minimum of about $285 for each credit, although the price can rise as high as $550.

A one megawatt project can produce about 1,140 megawatt hours of power a year. If those 1,140 credits were auctioned at the minimum of $285 each, that would translate into nearly $325,000 in credits annually.

Energy Secretary Richard Sullivan said the certificate program puts Massachusetts ahead of other states.

“There is an enhanced value for producing solar energy,” Sullivan said. “It really makes Massachusetts the leader.”

Read full article

GetSolar: “Solar Power Gains Popularity in Massachusetts”

Wednesday, February 2nd 2011 | By GetSolar Staff

Another large-scale solar project is in the planning stages, too. This one, developed by Boston-based Southern Sky Renewable Energy, will be even larger than Springfield’s – it’s expected to produce 5.6 megawatts of energy.

Coincidentally, Southern Sky’s proposed solar plant is also slated to be built on a landfill. It will be erected in the town of Canton and is expected to include 24,000 panels.

Canton official John J. Connolly called the proposed project a win-win. Not only will town residents have access to clean, carbon-free solar energy, but electric utility NStar will be able to buy the power the array generates. Massachusetts utilities have to purchase 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, and the Canton project will help NStar achieve compliance with that mandate.

In addition, Connolly told the Boston Globe, the town will get to collect property tax on land that would otherwise lie unused. “The land was just going to sit there forever,” he was quoted as saying. “This is a no-brainer.”

Read the full article

Solar Industry Magazine: “Southern Sky Renewable Energy Plans 5.6 MW PV Project”

by SI Staff on Tuesday 01 February 2011

Southern Sky Renewable Energy (SSRE), a Boston-based developer of utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects, says it has been granted access to a currently closed, town-owned Canton, Mass., landfill and plans to develop a 5.6 MW solar photovoltaic facility on the site.

SSRE has been granted a post-closure use permit from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.The company has also filed an interconnection application with NSTAR.

The Canton Board of Selectmen has granted final approval to the project, and the construction timetable is approximately six to nine months after a successful interconnection agreement is negotiated with NSTAR, the company says.

The solar arrays will consist of approximately 24,000 photovoltaic modules that will be configured in abutting groups of 10 parcels. Energy will be collected via electrical conduit to a load center and transformer, whereby the transformer will send the equivalent kilovolt-amps into the NSTAR distribution system.

Read the full article

Boston Globe: “Canton dump may soon be a solar powerhouse”

By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff / January 31, 2011

A Canton landfill closed for more than two decades will soon be transformed into New England’s largest solar electric development, officials are expected to announce today.

Approximately 24,000 solar panels installed across 15 acres — think 11 football fields — would be able to power more than 750 homes, its developers said.

The project, which is expected to open in the fall pending one last regulatory hurdle, would be three times larger than any other solar facility up and running in New England, according to state energy officials.

Read the full article

Associated Press: “Company plans largest solar energy array in NE”

Jan 31, 2011

A Boston-based renewable energy company is pledging to open the region’s biggest solar power array on a former landfill in Canton.

Officials at Southern Sky Renewable Energy said Monday that the 5.6 megawatt solar photovoltaic facility will be the largest of its kind in New England when completed.

The company said it’s already received final approval from the Canton Board of Selectmen and is negotiating a distribution agreement with NStar.

Once that’s completed it should take about six to nine months to build the facility. The company said the solar panels will have minimal impact on the environment and neighboring properties.

Massachusetts Secretary of Energy Richard Sullivan said the plant will generate enough electricity to power more than 750 homes.

Read the full article

PRESS RELEASE: “CANTON, MA LANDFILL, NOW CLOSED, WILL BECOME HOME TO NEW ENGLAND’S LARGEST SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC PROJECT”

January 31, 2011

CANTON, MASSACHUSETTS – Southern Sky Renewable Energy LLC, a growing solar energy developer based in Boston, has been granted access to the currently closed, town-owned Canton, MA landfill and plans to develop a 5.6 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic facility on the site. The project is expected to be New England’s largest solar electric development.

Read the full press releaseArticle in the Canton Citizen – November 18, 2010

Excerpt from “Residential, commercial tax rates to increase” by Mike Berger:

“More good financial news came from the signed agreement between the town and Southern Sky Renewable Energy for the company to build a solar electrical farm at the capped formed landfill. The town will receive a minimum of $600,000 annually in lease revenue and discounts and rebates in town electrical costs over 25 years.”

Article from Canton Patch – November 17, 2010

“Board of Selectmen Hoping to Strike Gold with Solar Farm”

The board approved contract for solar farm to be developed on Pine Street landfill

By Jeffrey Pickette, November 17, 2010

The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a contract for the development of a solar farm at the Pine Street landfill Tuesday night, while also unanimously giving the Department of Public Works the green light to complete a final design plan for renovations at that department’s Bolivar Street complex.

Southern Sky Renewable Energy (SSRE) will install and pay for more than 24,000 solar panels at the landfill, which if successful, can create considerable revenue for Canton, in addition to reducing the town’s energy costs.

The town will lease 15 acres of the landfill to SSRE for $20,000 an acre, giving the town $300,000 of lease-generated revenue in the first year of the 20-year pact (there is also a five-year option to make this a potential 25-year deal). The lease rate increases at a 2.5 percent clip every year, giving the town the opportunity to take in more than $10 million over the course of the deal. Canton stands to make an additional $750,000 over the course of the 25-year period through a rebate agreement.

SSRE ultimately sells the generated electricity to NSTAR. Currently Canton pays 17.1 cents per kilowatt hour of energy, but under the deal with SSRE, Canton will pay 16 cents, with a graduated rate increase of four percent. In his presentation, Friel stressed that the cost of electricity has doubled since 1990, when it was just 8.5 cents per kilowatt hour. Representatives from SSRE argued that this deal “protects the town from these unusual spikes in energy [costs] that we’ve had over time.”

When they ultimately voted to approve the contract, Selectmen Chairman Victor Del Vecchio and Selectmen Clerk Bob Burr both questioned if locking the town in to paying a fixed energy rate was in the best interest of the town, citing concerns over what would happen if energy costs instead decreased over the life of the contract.

But, ultimately the B.O.S. decided the upside of this deal outweighed any potential risks. The town can generate anywhere from $600,000 to as much as $3 million in revenue and cost savings per year.

“I think this is a good deal,” Del Vecchio said. “I think this is what we’re supposed to be doing, which is enhancing our revenues at a time when we have limited opportunities to enhance our revenues.”

The solar farm will also use a landfill that has been capped since 1989, which as the B.O.S. and Friel pointed out, is currently an unproductive asset for the town.

“God speed, do well and make us rich,” Del Vecchio told SSRE after the B.O.S. approved the execution of the lease and the net metering agreement with the company.

Article in the Canton Citizen – October 21, 2010

“Here comes the sun”

Canton company embraces solar energy; 

town hopes to do the same

By Jeffrey Pickette

Citizen Staff

Sika Sarnafil, a Canton roofing manufacturer, took part of the roof at its Dan Road facility and transformed it into a solar park, turning an otherwise unproductive and costly entity into an asset for the company. The solar park will displace about 37 percent of the facility’s electricity use, according to a press release from the company, which is enough electricity to power about 25 homes.

The company, which specializes in thermoplastic roofing and waterproofing membranes, inaugurated the first phase of the solar park last Wednesday, on what was appropriately a bright and sunny day. The first phase consists of two separate 12,500-square-foot arrays of solar panels.

While Sika Sarnafil is being praised for embracing alternative energy sources in the private sector, the town of Canton is hoping to follow suit with an unrelated solar-based project of its own. As detailed at the last selectmen’s meeting, the town is in talks with Southern Sky Renewable Energy (SSRE) about turning half of the Pine Street landfill into a solar farm, complete with more than 24,000 solar panels.

Like Sika Sarnafil, this proposed project will be making use of an “unproductive asset” — a landfill that was capped in 1989 — and turning it into a “revenue generator” for the town, according to Selectmen Chairman Victor Del Vecchio.

“I think this [potential] agreement represents a wonderful opportunity for the town to generate revenue at a time when every dollar counts,” Del Vecchio said. “In addition, we’ll be enjoying a reduction in our energy costs to boot, and that’s truly a win-win situation.”

The potential agreement between the town and SSRE would be for 20 years. SSRE would install (and pay for) the panels and then sell the generated electricity to NSTAR. Del Vecchio estimates the town will make about $7 or $8 million of revenue over the course of the deal.

As reported in last week’s Citizen, if the negotiations go according to plan, this solar farm could be up and running by July. Del Vecchio said the parties are negotiating “in good faith” and he was “cautiously optimistic” that an agreement will be in place by year’s end.

Cost savings and energy savings are certainly benefits of Sika Sarnafil’s solar park, but another purpose of this park is to help the company test which type of solar technology is most efficient. Essentially, the company is using its own roof to conduct a large-scale science experiment.

There are currently two different types of arrays on the roof of the company’s building, taking up about a quarter of the 120,000-square-foot roof. The plan is to double the size of the park next year in the second phase of the project, adding a third and fourth unique solar array, according to Brian Whelan, senior vice president of Sika Sarnafil.

“We want to learn as much as we possibly can because we’re finding that one type of solar system doesn’t work everywhere,” Whelan said. “Every roof is different, the slope of the roof is different, the climate is different around the country. Our thought process was why not use our own building, our own roof, to learn…We wanted to get more experience so that we can educate our customers about the advantages of these different types of solar systems.”

Even though the park is on the company’s roof, Sika Sarnafil does not technically own these solar arrays; they are instead “hosting” them. Connecticut-based Greenskies Renewable Energy “capitalized, designed, engineered and installed” both arrays, according to a press release from Sika Sarnafil. So, Sika Sarnafil is experiencing the benefits of solar energy, but did not pay for the project. The company simply buys the energy produced from these solar panels at a discounted rate from Greenskies.

The efficiency of a solar energy system is naturally based upon the strength of the sun’s rays. The solar panels would collect more energy on a clear and sunny day than if it was overcast.

“That is one of the challenges with solar [energy],” Whelan said. “That is one of the reasons why it is more frequently used in the southern part of the country and in California because you get more sunshine than you do here in the northeast.”

But even so, Whelan said there are other factors to consider like cost of energy. If energy costs are high (like they are in Massachusetts), Whelan said solar energy is still a “wise investment.”

Whelan sees the roof as a “nice platform for solar” and would even like to see other private and public buildings in town make use of similar clean energy technology.

“There’s no question that roofing and solar [technology] are going to become more integrated for building construction,” he said.

October 21, 2010

Comments are closed.