Today at the PV America conference in Boston organized by SEIA and SEPA, two standout solar projects that Borrego Solar was involved in received PV Project of Distinction awards: the Palmer Metropolitan Airfield and National Grid (GRID) Solar Phase II program, both located in Massachusetts.
Both of these efforts deserve recognition for the wide reaching benefits they’re bringing to their stakeholders and local community.
Palmer Metropolitan Airfield
The Palmer Airfield array is the first and largest DOER qualified brownfield solar project under the Massachusetts SREC II incentive program. This isn’t a small feat. It took the coordination and cooperation of five parties to make it a reality: the DOER, Borrego Solar (developer, EPC), Syncarpha Capital (owner), Renewable Energy Massachusetts (developer), the Town of Palmer and JenJill LLC (owner of the Airfield). The Airfield was cleaned up after 75 years of airfield operations dating back to the 1920s.
There are multiple entities directly benefiting from this project. The Town of Palmer, a designated Green Community, will be receiving real estate and personal property tax revenue of approximately $2 million over the 20 year project term. Three public entities – the Town of Leicester, the Town of Spencer, and Worcester State University, will together purchase all of the net energy metering credits from the energy generated by the project, which will result in millions of dollars in energy savings for these entities over the 20 year terms of their power purchase agreements.
National Grid (GRID) Solar Phase II program
Borrego Solar is building 12.8 MW of solar capacity across 13 sites for NGRID as part of its Solar Phase II program, which installs solar projects on sites typically avoided by developers. NGRID chose site locations that bring the most benefit to the grid and its ratepayers, despite not being the easiest to build solar on. There will be eighteen projects, including a 650 kilowatt solar site located on a specific feeder to better service the grid, with advanced inverter functionality and remote control. NGRID partnered with local solar developers, including Borrego Solar, and towns to build these sites. Starting in 2016 NGRID hopes to get local high schools and colleges involved to maximize the value of the projects and learn as much as possible through future testing.
With this portfolio, NGRID has taken a simple but unique approach to increasing its solar generation capacity. In 2014 NGRID sought proposals for solar projects it could buy. Borrego Solar responded and won the RFP to develop projects and deliver them fully built and ready to operate. Typically utilities procure solar through Power Purchase Agreements, but in this case NGRID was able to rate base the capital investment and gain a greater return on its investment.