Westport, Massachusetts - Today, elected officials, community leaders, solar advocates, and owners of a family farm gathered to announce and celebrate the first Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) project to transfer community solar credits to energy customers.
The transfer marks a major milestone for the state’s new solar incentive program, which aims to encourage deployment of solar energy in Massachusetts. SMART is managed by the MA Dept. of Energy Resources (DOER) and funded by local utilities Eversource, National Grid and Unitil. The announcement comes at a time when the state is considering changes to the SMART program.
Senator Michael Rodrigues, Chairman of the MA Senate Ways and Means Committee, joined April Sampson, owner of Sampson Farms in Westport, along with local officials and solar company representatives from BlueWave and Amp to mark the occasion.
“I am excited that Westport will be the home of the state’s first SMART project to transfer community solar credits to energy customers,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport). “This is a huge step forward for solar energy in the Commonwealth, and I applaud the Department of Energy Resources for their innovative approach to renewable energy.”
Sampson Farms, site of the community solar project, was founded in 1850 and has long provided fresh produce to area residents. The land continues to be farmed, and the Sampsons have even expanded operations since the community solar project was built.
“This solar farm is really important to our family business, allowing us to increase production, ramp up our retail space and expand our operations,” said April Sampson. “But it’s every bit as important to our neighbors because it means we can continue feeding them with the healthy food and clean energy they need. In a tight knit community like ours, that means the world.”
BlueWave, a pioneering solar developer and community solar service provider, and Amp, a global development platform of solar and flexible generation clean energy infrastructure, and state and local officials celebrated today the transfer of the first community solar credits under the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program. Senator and Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee Michael Rodrigues of Westport, Acting Director of the DOER Renewables Division Eric Steltzer, and Westport Select Board Chair Shana Shufelt were in attendance and gave remarks at the event.
“Community solar in the Commonwealth is helping people every day to save money while supporting clean energy,” said Mark Sylvia, BlueWave’s Chief of Staff. “Here at Sampson Farms we’re seeing that clean energy and agriculture can not only coexist, but by bringing in steady lease revenue, community solar is helping them expand farming operations. As a result, the Sampsons are not only feeding their neighbors, but helping them reduce their energy costs.”
The assemblage on Sampson Farms consists of four projects, two of which are part of the SMART program: one located at 75 Blossom Rd and the other at 70 Adirondack Ln in Westport. Portions of the project originally offered credits through the Massachusetts solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) program, the state’s original solar incentive program.
BlueWave developed the projects, and has been retained to service community solar customers, while Amp acquired the projects and is the long-term owner of the asset. With a combined size of 10.67 megawatts, the SMART projects are expected to produce 12,637 megawatt hours (MWH) of electricity per year on average - enough to power 1,215 homes annually. Solar electricity production from the SMART projects will help avoid 8,937 tons of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to taking 1,897 vehicles off the road according to the EPA’s greenhouse gas calculator.
“As the long term owner of this project, Amp is proud to deliver the first bill credits under the SMART program.” said Jared Donald, Amp’s Senior Vice President and Head of USA, “The combination of Amp’s forward view of the SMART program and our continuing trusted relationship with BlueWave gave Amp the confidence to invest the necessary capital to build the project ahead of the final SMART program rules.”
Customers subscribed to the community solar project in Westport received credits on their July electricity bill from National Grid. Over 120 residents and small business owners throughout National Grid utility zones in Massachusetts are subscribed to the project and have started collecting credits that will help them save money on their electricity bills. The anchor tenant on the site is South Shore Hospital in Weymouth. An anchor tenant is an entity, such as a municipality, hospital, or corporation that uses a lot of electricity and therefore has a significant appetite for community solar credits to help offset some of their energy costs. Anchors are needed for most community solar projects in Massachusetts and are a vital component in getting community solar projects financed and built.
BlueWave is on a mission to revolutionize energy with simple, powerful solar solutions. As a pioneering solar developer and leading community solar service provider, BlueWave has built more than 135 MW of solar projects to date and provides community solar access to thousands of customers. BlueWave’s innovative community solar subscriptions make it possible for homeowners, renters, small business owners, and municipalities to be part of the energy revolution. BlueWave’s cutting-edge Switch Platform enables solar asset owners and installers to conveniently manage their customers while giving those same customers an easily accessible online dashboard to sign up, manage their subscriptions, and review their account activity.
A certified B Corp, BlueWave has received national recognition for its work to protect the planet, including being named the Clean Energy Company of the Year in 2018 by the Northeast Clean Energy Council, a top impact company by Real Leaders Magazine, and a leading growth company by Inc. Magazine. For a full list of our awards and to learn more, visit bluewavesolar.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.
Amp is a leading global development platform of solar and flexible clean energy infrastructure. Based in Canada, with operations in North America, Japan, India and Australia; AMP has developed and built over 1 GW of solar assets and deployed over $2 Billion of capital throughout its core markets. Amp’s world-class global team brings deep expertise and thought leadership to every aspect of the energy industry. Leading the transition to a new future of clean energy, at Amp, we power change.