Please provide a brief overview of the project.
The project has taken the municipal landfill and put 2 megawatts of solar panels on top of the cap to supply the Town of Greenfield MA with 40% of its required electric power at a savings of $200,000 per year.
- The landfill is at Cumberland Road in Greenfield. It encompasses approximately 21 acres.
- The landfill was closed in 1996 and has been unused for any benefit since that time.
- The project first generated electric power on June 7, 2012.
What makes this project unique?
This is the first renewable energy application of a municipal landfill in New England and will serve as a great example both technically and commercially for replication by others. It is the first landfill based project to combine several public programs to maximize the community befeits.
What were the primary funding sources?
The total project development costs were approximately $11.2 Million The project has been financed through a series of programs and combined equity supplied by Greenleaf TNX and project debt supplied by Berkshire Bank. The project also qualified for New Market Tax Credits which were allocated by CCML. A portion of the debt was guaranteed by a USDA Loan Guarantee and other portions of the debt were guaranteed by the US Treasury Dept 1603 Cash Grant program.
The cmplex financing allowed the project to maximize community benefits. The project is supporting a renewable energy jobs training program at the Greenfield Community College. The City of Greenfield will buy power from the plant at a price of 1 ct/kwh, saving the municipal government over $200,000 per year.
What contaminants were present on the site?
The site had several decades of municipal wastes buried onsite. In order to eliminate the potential of contamination exposure, the Greenfield Solar Farm was constructed with ballasted above ground foundations. This ensured that the environmental integrity of the landfill was maintained.
How much energy does the project generate and how many people does it serve?.
The project generates 2 megawatts at its peak and generates approximately 2,500,000 kilwatt-hours each year. It sells its power to the City of Greenfield, supplying Greenfield with approximately 40% of its municipal load. Greenfield is City of 17,500 people.
What were the remediation costs and how were they incorporated into the financing of the construction of the energy project?
The overall cost of the project was $11 Million and approximately 10% of that figure was due to the unique financing methods and the fact thatthe construction was on a ladfill requiring extra monitoring and extra construction costs.
What solar energy technologies, starting with photovoltaic (PV) systems, were used in this project?
The system used approximately 8,700 Chaori 230 watt photovoltaic panels. It also used 4 Advanced Energy 500kw inverters to convert the power to grid quality. The project development and construction was managed by SunEdison and the construction and assembly work was conducted by Gable Electric of Pittsfield MA.
What clean and climate-friendly energy technologies were used in this project?
The project produces all of its energy from photovoltaic panels which have no emissions of greenhouse gases or any other form of pollution.
How many pollution-free solar energy and high-tech solar manufacturing jobs did the project bring to the site?
- The Greenfield Solar Farm created an estimated 50 local jobs during the construction and development stage of the project.
- The project will also directly employ approximately 4 full-time equivalent employees to operate, manage and maintain the 2.0-MW solar array. Additionally, the project will help create and sustain another estimated 11 indirect jobs related to the township’s cost savings, secondary business services, and benefits to nearby manufacturers and service providers.
- The project is estimated to annually reduce emissions by 0.90 tons of NOx, 0.76 tons of SO2, and 1,027.67 tons CO2.
- The Greenfield Solar Farm also includes a focus on “green” education and will provide a public web-based reporting system that will show how much electricity is currently being generated by the facility in real-time, as well as the total amount of energy that the PV array has generated.
- Greenfield, MA is a “green” community and hopes that this new solar project will allow it to access additional environmental sustainability grants.
What wind power technologies were used in this project?
Is the formally contaminated site being used for energy, such as methane from a landfill?
No landfill gas power generation has ever been present at the site and given that the site closed almose two decades ago, it would not be approporiate.
How did the Federal Grant/tax credit impact the ability to do this project?
The project used four forms of public sector finances-
1. The project qualified to use New Market Tax Credits, which generated approximately $3 Million in benefits.
2. The project long term debt of $3 Million was guaranteed by the USDA , which made the project feasible for Berkshire Bank, the project lender.
3. The project qualified for a Section 1603 Cash Grant of roughly $3 Million which reduced the required equity raise.
4. The project can sell Solar Renewable Energy Credits into the Massachusetss Renewable Portfolio Standard market, This guaranteed market allowed the project to secure equity and ebt from private sources and also lower power prices to the City of Greenfield.
What were the biggest challenges to this project and how did you overcome those challenges?
The power plant’s seven acre riverfront campus offered the opportunity for remediation of environmental issues related to its former industrial use.
The complex financin made the project very challenging to close. Perseverence and patience was essential. This is the first New England utility scale solar project to get an Interconnection Agreement to operate. It was also the first to get a Post Closure Use permit from the Massachusetts DEP.