Beverly, Massachusetts — Residents of Beverly looking to be good environmental stewards while also lowering their electric bills now have the opportunity to subscribe to a local solar farm.
The large solar development, which is being constructed by BlueWave Solar on a former landfill off Route 128, is expected to be fully operational by this summer.
As a special subscriber of the solar farm through a power-purchase agreement, the City of Beverly will not only save on municipal energy costs, but also decrease local greenhouse emissions.
And now, households in the area that have National Grid as their electric provider can subscribe to BlueWave’s community solar program and receive credits that will allow for savings on overall energy costs.
We asked Myles Fish, BlueWave’s director of community solar business development, about the program and how it works. Here is what he had to say:
Q: How does a solar farm work?
A: A solar farm refers to a series of panels that converts the sun’s energy into electricity. That electricity is sent to the local utility’s grid where it’s transmitted for use by their customers. There are a few things that make the Beverly Brimbal Community Solar Farm unique. Number one, it’s a form of distributed generation that provides local financial benefits including tax revenue, electricity savings and, as in the case of this project, lease revenue when sited on publicly-owned land. Number two, it’s on an old landfill. Old landfills, with all the decomposing trash, can be harsh on the environment. For a few decades after landfills are capped, not many things can grow or be built on top of them. Fortunately though, in a lot of cases, they’re a great match for solar. So, instead of this space sitting vacant, it’s being used to generate clean energy instead.
Q: Who can subscribe to the Beverly solar farm?
A: We’re encouraging Beverly residents and small businesses to sign up first, but most National Grid customers in Massachusetts are eligible to join, as well. We’re encouraging residents of Beverly to sign up by offering a $100 sign up bonus for those who subscribe before March 31.
Q: How much, on average, can a subscriber expect to save on their electric bill?
A: An average subscriber can expect to save roughly 8 to 9 percent annually.
Q: When can Beverly residents expect to start seeing savings once they’re subscribed?
A: Depending on the construction and utility interconnection process, subscribers will likely start seeing savings on their electricity bills in late summer or early fall of 2020. The project is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in June 2020. Connecting it to the grid may take a month or two after that. Once it’s connected, the credits and savings will start flowing.
Q: Aside from cost savings, what are some of the benefits of subscribing?
A: Besides bill savings, subscribers can take pride in the fact that they are supporting a real renewable energy project in their community, which brings with it reduced reliance on dirtier forms of energy production and the creation of local jobs during and after construction. Once completed, the Beverly Brimbal Community Solar Farm is expected to produce over 6 million kilowatt hours of electricity and offset 3,720 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. That’s enough clean, renewable energy to power over 500 homes, and is the equivalent of taking nearly 800 cars off the road annually.
Q: How many people can subscribe to the Beverly solar farm?
A: A rough estimate is 500 average sized homes. Residences and small businesses of various sizes and energy use profiles are eligible to participate.
Q: Is there a deadline to subscribe or is it an ongoing process?
A: The deadline to sign up is March 31; however, after that time we will maintain a wait list that residents and small businesses can join in order to be added to the project if any slots open up.
Q: Can folks cancel their subscription at any time or are they committed long-term?
A: Customers can cancel anytime and there is no fee to cancel. We require 45 days’ notice so that we can coordinate with the utility and fill any open spots with new customers from the wait list.
Q: When will the Beverly solar farm be completed and operational?
A: The goal is for construction to be completed by June 2020 and be fully operational in July or August.
Q: What else might potential subscribers want to know about this opportunity?
A: We want to hear from you. More details about the project and about how community solar works are provided at start.bluewavesolar.com/beverly. If you fill out a form, our team will be in touch to answer your questions and walk you through the sign-up process. Signing up takes only a few minutes and can be done via BlueWave’s website.
This article & photograph originally appeared in a Wicked Local Beverly news article on Jan. 21, 2020.