BREWSTER – The Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative, has awarded a contract to Broadway Electrical of Boston to build 49.4 megawatts of solar arrays on 44 sites around Cape Cod and the Islands.
“This is a very important day for Cape Cod,” said Charles McLaughlin, president of CVEC, at a press conference yesterday.
This is all part of round two of their solar project. Round one has put about 16 megawatts into operation, mostly smaller scale projects such as those on the roofs of the Stony Brook and Eddy Schools in Brewster and the array at the Brewster landfill.
Many of the new projects will be on roofs while others are on landfills. Brewster will get 4.7 megawatts in Commerce Park, on the location that would’ve held the twin 440-foot wind turbines.
The largest project (5.2 mw) is at the Barnstable airport, other local sites include Chatham Airport (1.4 mw), Independence Park in Hyannis (3.3 mw), the Community Center in Harwich (0.5 mw), the Orleans landfill (0.5 mw), Wellfield 3 in Harwich (3.5 mw), Nauset Regional High School (0.5 mw) and the Orleans watershed (0.5 mw).
McLaughlin estimated the arrays could save municipalities as much as $3.2 million a year (and should save them $2.2 million in year one).
“These will affect budgets in every municipality,” he said.
The cost of the project is about $200 million and financing will be provided by Rockland Capital. Most locations could be up and operating within 18 months.
The work is divided into two tiers, depending on the expected ease of permitting. Tier 1 (the easier ones) covers 25.8 mw. Some of the Tier 2 work – much of which is in wellfields, or on open land, may require legislative help in order to change land uses – although the original uses will continue.
Tier 1 will produce 31.6 kilowatts annually according to McLaughlin – which would offset close to 64 percent of all municipal use on Cape Cod.
“We are approaching servicing the electrical use of 100 percent of Cape and Vineyard towns that are members of CVEC,” McLaughlin said. “That’s a heck of an accomplishment in a two year period since we got seriously into solar.”
Barnstable alone is looking at saving $268,000 a year due to the Independence Park project.
Mark Sylvia of the state Department of Energy Resources said that in 2007 Massachusetts had a solar capacity of 3 mw. Today that is 100 mw and could be 250 mw by 2015.
Broadway Electrical will own, operate and maintain the arrays. The cost of production. for the power produced will be between 5.5 and 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour while the power will be net-metered at 12.653 cents per kw hour – thus creating the benefits.
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