ROCKVILLE, Md. The Massachusetts town of Plymouth and the Acton Water District will soon enjoy the clean energy and savings of solar power with an innovative 4.69 megawatt (MW) solar and 4 MWh storage project. Standard Solar acquired the project from developer EDF Renewables North America. The project received an award from the state’s Solar Massachusetts Renewable Targets (SMART) program, which provides incentives for solar and storage projects.
Located in Acton, Massachusetts, on land owned by the Acton Water District, the Lawsbrook Solar + Storage project will allow the Town of Plymouth and Acton Water District to benefit from discounted power and lease revenues from the solar and storage system. The project will further the Commonwealth’s solar and energy storage goals by adding clean power to the bulk electrical system while supplementing the project with a battery to discharge clean power during on-peak evening hours, reducing the need for reliance on dirtier power sources during those times.
The system is expected to generate 5,866 megawatt-hours of clean energy each year, enough to power 800 average Massachusetts’ homes and offset the carbon dioxide equivalent of burning 4.5 million pounds of coal. The project is built over the W.R. Grace Superfund Site and was awarded by way of an RFP to EDF Renewables in 2018. This project makes complimentary use of one of the District’s active groundwater well fields, which serves as part of the Town’s drinking water supply. The property hosting the project is previously disturbed land from gravel extraction and is encompassed by the larger W.R. Grace Superfund Site. Due to the various environmental sensitivities on the site, permitting the project entailed receiving approvals at various levels of the federal, state and local governments.
“Standard Solar is a leader in forwarding the clean energy movement throughout the nation,” said Eric Partyka, Director of Business Development, Standard Solar. “Adding this solar+storage project to our existing portfolio in Massachusetts underscores our rapid growth. It’s always significant when we connect with a great partner like EDF Renewables and acquire projects that are helping a town like Plymouth and the Acton Water District to capitalize on the multiple benefits of a solar and storage system. We look forward to adding many more projects like this to our portfolio in 2022 and beyond.”
The Lawsbrook project is part of Standard Solar’s rapidly expanding portfolio in Massachusetts and the U.S. They currently own and maintain nearly 20 MW in Massachusetts and 280 MW of commercial and community solar projects throughout the United States.
“The Acton Water Solar + Storage project is the first of two projects that EDF Renewables has had the privilege to partner with the Acton Water District on,” said Peter Bay, Associate Director, Business Development for EDF Renewables. “We are thrilled to see the project come to fruition, despite numerous permitting and interconnection challenges, and begin conveying benefits to the District and Town of Plymouth. The Acton Water District team have been fantastic partners on the project and have provided ample support in ensuring it’s a successful endeavor. We’re appreciative to have a reputable partner in Standard Solar as the long-term owner of the site.”
“After a few years of hard work by all involved, we are extremely excited to have this renewable energy project coming online,” said Christ Allen District Manager, Acton Water District. “In the water supply industry, we keenly understand the impacts of global climate change, and the role that reliance on fossil fuels plays. We’re committed to do our part by lowering our carbon footprint, as water and wastewater treatment are very energy intensive processes. Partnering with EDF Renewables, such a knowledgeable, experienced company, has given us a great deal of peace of mind endeavoring into technology where we have no experience. It gives us a great deal of pride commissioning our first solar project and contributing to saving the climate.”
The SMART Program was created in 2016 by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and is a long-term sustainable solar incentive program designed to advance cost-effective solar development in the state. The new Lawsbrook solar and storage project will help the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reach its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard as well as their recently codified 2030 and 2050 goals for a statewide clean energy economy.
At the close of 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities issued an order doubling the SMART program, extending the block incentive program to 3,200 MW of solar capacity. This move creates capacity for new projects and releases a bottleneck of stalled projects.