Driftway, Scituate, Massachusetts
1. Project Overview
Thanks to Brightfields Development LLC, a New England area solar developer, Scituate, MA, became the first town in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that is 100 per cent powered by renewable energy. In September 2013, Brightfields commissioned a 3.0 MW solar farm at the town’s closed municipal landfill. “We didn’t set out to be first, we set out to do what is right, and to be environmentally clean and responsible while saving the taxpayers money,” said Al Bangert, Director of the Scituate Department of Public Works (DPW). “With this project, and the wind turbine (installed previously), all of our power will be produced without any carbon dioxide emissions,” he added. In 2011, the Town took the initiative to transform its dormant landfill into an environmental and economic asset. The Town selected Brightfields Development, an experienced solar energy developer specializing in brownfield projects, to be the project developer.
Prior to being capped in 2000, the 29-acre landfill accepted a combination of municipal solid waste, construction debris, and residuals for a nearby wastewater treatment facility. Through Brightfields Development’s landfill engineering expertise, the capped landfill now hosts a 3.0 MW solar field composed of 10,560 panels. The project will generate about 3,750,000 kWh of clean energy annually, resulting in an annual savings for the Town of approximately $200,000. The amount of renewable energy generated by the solar field is enough to power approximately 331 homes; and is equivalent to displacing 6,733 barrels of oil. CO2 emissions will be reduced by 2,831 metric tons.
In addition to the environmental and economic benefits created by the project, Brightfields Development designed and helped implement solar energy educational curricula tailored specifically to each of the elementary, middle and high schools in the Town. Brightfields also worked with Scituate to design a viewing kiosk for the Scituate Town Hall that provides residents with real-time information on the performance of the Scituate solar array. Brightfields continues to be involved in the Town through attending relevant community events and hosting tours of the site for both students and residents.
This history-making project illustrates the value and importance of revitalizing brownfield sites, as well as the power of public/private partnerships. Brightfields Development ensured that the project was a collaborative effort among State agencies, Town officials and other project stakeholders. Regular communication and transparency throughout the process facilitated a partnership that was able to effectively overcome development hurdles and successfully complete the project. Developing solar fields on landfills and other brownfield sites creates a valuable opportunity that creates significant environmental progress, energy security, and major economic benefits to communities.
40 Walnut Street, Wellesley, Massachusetts
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