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WMECo Starts Construction on Third Solar Facility

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SPRINGFEILD, Mass. (WGGB) — By April, a Cottage Street landfill will be home to 13,000 solar panels, which will have enough energy to power 600 homes.

Western Mass. Electric and city officials unveiled the plan at a press conference Monday at the Indian Orchard plant that opened last year.

It’s currently New England’s largest solar site.

“Springfield is getting known for being ‘The Green City’. Here, you’re dealing with landfills. Here, you had the old Chapman valley. There’s not much you can do in rebuilding. We took full advantage of Brownfields money to clean up the site,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

The two properties rake in about $750,000 in tax revenue for the city, in addition to adding dozens of jobs for IBEW Local 7 members.

The move is part of Governor Patrick’s goal to install 250 megawatts of solar electricity across Massachusetts by 2017. The state hit that goal four years early.

“It’s quiet, no emissions, not a lot of traffic. This will be part of the energy charge, aggregated with other suppliers,” WMECo President Craig Hallstrom stated.

In addition to Pittsfield and Indian Orchard, Cottage Street will be WMECo’s third solar facility.

The two sites already running produce over four megawatts of clean, renewable power.

Once the Cottage street site opens, that will become the largest solar plant in the region, providing four megawatts of the sun’s electricity.

In total, all three WMECo solar sites will be providing eight megawatts of power.

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