Warren welcomes 13 megawatt solar farm built by First Wind with ribbon-cutting at former Scottish Meadows golf course
WARREN – First Wind company representatives along with state and local officials were beaming at Monday’s ceremonial ribbon cutting ushering in a 13 megawatt solar farm containing 57,000 panels on 75 acres at the former Scottish Meadow golf course located at 360 Little Rest Road.
Senior officials from Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration in attendance lauded First Wind’s first Massachusetts solar farm, and said the governor’s commitment to green energy would not be possible without the investment private firms have undertaken.
This is really just a fabulous, fabulous site,” said Maeve Bartlett, secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. “Congratulations to the people at First Wind.”
According to Bartlett, there are now 518 megawatts of solar generating in the state – “enough energy to power 89,000 homes,” she said.
The Warren facility’s opening marks the Boston-based company’s entry into solar energy; they operate 16 wind farms in six other states.
“This is our first solar project, and our first investment in Massachusetts,” First Wind’s Chief Executive Officer Paul Gaynor said. “Thank you very much to the town of Warren.”
Completed on May 31 at a cost of $60 million, the facility created 100 construction jobs
State Rep. Todd Smola, R-Warren, who grew up in Palmer, attended the ceremony along with Rep. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer.
“I am a new resident to the town of Warren,” Smola said. “I have been here almost two years now. This is a wonderful thing for the community.”
Warren Selectman Dario Nardi said, “There is much more to come with our relationship with First Wind.”
Among the dignitaries was Andrew Reed, a vice president at Borrego Solar,
a solar photovoltaic energy financing and contracting company.
He provided data showing the national growth in solar energy.
Twelve years ago the U.S. had a total of 32 megawatts of solar energy being produced; that is now at 12,000 megawatts, Reed said.
The businessman also shared a prediction with the approximately 75 people in attendance.
“It is inevitable that fossil fuels will play second fiddle in this century” to renewable energy sources, Reed said.
In an interview, the state’s commissioner for energy resources, Mark Sylvia, said that when Patrick was first elected governor in 2006, there was 3 megawatts of solar generation. That has increased to 518 megawatts.
He said going green has been part of a three-pronged pillar of the administration: local renewable energy generation; decrease in emissions; and economic development.
The three “are not mutually exclusive. They work hand in had,” Sylvia said.
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