By Lori Szepelak
City residents can now sign up to be one of the first 250 participants
WESTFIELD–With almost five months of construction by local contractor Elm Electric nearing completion and the Westfield community solar project along Southampton Road set to go online in October, city residents can now sign up to be one of the first 250 participants.
Westfield was chosen as a solar farm site by Green Street Power Partners (GSPP), LLC, based in Stamford, Conn., since the land was readily available and it “turned out” to be a good site for solar, according to Lisa Raffin, GSPP’s chief investment officer.
The Westfield Community Solar project intersects at Southampton Road and Summit
Lock Road and is expected to be online by October.
The actual solar production is estimated at 6,000 MWhrs each year. Each participant will receive equal value at the end of each year, or prorated if the resident moves during the year.
“Westfield residents have the opportunity to support the production of green energy in their community,” said Raffin, adding, “By participating in the Westfield Community Solar program, residents are reducing the community’s CO2 emissions.”
Raffin noted that to put that statement in perspective, the CO2 displaced by this system is the equivalent of preserving 700 acres of forest for the lifetime of the system, or equivalent to removing 919 cars from the road each year the system is operating.
Green Street Power Partners has a power binding purchase agreement with Westfield Gas and Electric for 20 years. The energy that is produced by the solar farm is sent to the electrical grid.
The website link to sign up at no cost by Oct. 1 is greenstreetsolarpower.com/westfield-community-solar.
Westfield residents interested in participating in the 18-acre solar project must provide proof of residence in the form of tax, utility, or city water/sewer service addressed to the Westfield residence, and proof of identification (state ID, driver license or passport).
“We feel that it’s so incredible to be a part of something that has such a tremendous impact,” said Raffin, adding, “and Westfield residents will be saving by participating in the program.”
Raffin noted that participants will receive a check for approximately $80 at the end of each year, equivalent to 7 to 10 percent of their annual electric bill.
Mayor Brian P. Sullivan is also looking forward to seeing the solar project operational in the near future.
“For many years we have been trying to fill that property with new business and it has always been difficult based on its location,” said Sullivan. “The solar project will bring more clean energy opportunities to the city and add needed tax revenues.”
Currently, solar sites generating renewable energy for city residents includes the Twiss Street landfill on 7.5 acres generating 2 megawatts; the “Cowles Pit” solar farm at 219 Russellville Road on 12 acres that is producing 2.6 megawatts, and on Western Avenue, land owned by Green Meadow Lumber is generating 2.6 megawatts on 11 acres, according to Joe Mitchell, Westfield’s advancement officer.