North Adams to be 100 Percent Solar Powered

Published in WNYT Channel 13 Albany

North Adams to be 100 Percent Solar Powered

North Adams is the smallest city in Massachusetts. As of now, that tiny city, in the northwest corner of the commonwealth, is generating more solar power then the entire state of Massachusetts did just eight years ago.

What otherwise would have been a forgotten hillside on the outskirts of North Adams, 6,000 solar panels are now in place, which have literally energized the community.

“Time will tell but this will hopefully make the city 100% solar powered,” said Mayor Richard Alcombright, at a ceremony Tuesday morning to mark the grand opening of the solar collecting facility.

And with 100% of North Adams running on solar energy, the mayor says he’s now looking forward to the savings since schools, street lights, the library, and other municipal buildings “won’t cost taxpayers a dime.”

“If it goes the way we think,” Alcombright says, “it could provide us with about $400,000 per year in credits which eats up our municipal electric bill.”

One of the fundamental principles of an energy equation is that as solar power increases, your carbon footprint decreases. The array of 6,000 solar panels installed on top of a landfill that was capped back in 1998, will offset nearly 3,000 tons of annual carbon use. That’s the equivalent of removing 630 cars from our roads.

“Projects like this show you that a site that would have gone unused can be utilized, and can lead benefits back to the community,” says State Senator Ben Downing (D – Pittsfiled), chairman of the energy committee, “It also creates jobs here in the state.”

Downing says more than 90,00 Massachusetts residents are currently working in clean energy.

The North Adams site is expected to generate 4.3 million kilowatt hours of energy annually.

“I really think it’s cool how we’ve evolved here,” said Alcombright, “Many years ago we used water power and we’re coming full circle back to sun power and wind power off in the distance.”

“Projects like this make environmental sense, energy sense and economic sense,” says Dan Burgess, deputy commissioner and Chief of Staff at DOER. “It creates good, local clean energy jobs.”

“We are at the end of the energy pipeline,” Downing adds, “We don’t have oil or gas. We all know that the smartest way to tackle energy needs is to solve them right here locally.”