Empower Energies Announces the Commissioning of 3.7MW Solar Project in Shirley, Massachusetts

New solar facility to provide renewable energy for Deven’s Utilities Department as well as economic benefits for the municipality, the Shirley Water District, and the people of Shirley.

Empower Energies, Inc., a leading Clean Energy Portfolio Solutions company, announced the completion and commissioning of a 3.7MWDC (3.0MWAC) solar array in the Town of Shirley, MA. The ground-mounted installation features 13,047 6.5’-by-3’ photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, situated on 27 acres of Shirley Water District land, providing 20 acres of power production.

The project was co-developed with Washington, DC-based EPG Solar. It will deliver over 4.9 million kWh of electricity annually to the contiguous Devens Utilities Department, significantly increasing the renewable energy contribution to the MassDevelopment subsidiary’s energy portfolio.

Jim Moore of the Devens Utilities Department noted that Mass Development was originally looking to add renewable energy into their portfolio with facilities built behind their meter, but ultimately opened the bidding up to power supply coming in from outside Devens, ‘if someone could work out the details.’

Empower Energies Manager of Business Development Micah Stanley credited the ingenuity of Robert Babcock, a Managing Partner with EPG Solar, and his team, for initiating the project. “His inventiveness enabled us, essentially, to put two separate and distinct projects together, and then enabled us to cross utility grid lines,” Stanley said

“From the beginning, this project has been a model of perseverance and creativity for all of the parties involved,” Babcock said. “We worked diligently in cooperation with all of the constituencies – the Town of Shirley Energy Committee, the Water District, and the Devens Utilities Department – to best represent the interests of the people they serve.”

“(At the Devens Utilities Department) we are grateful as off-takers to be receiving the power from this facility,” Moore added.

It is exciting and humbling to ‘flip the switch’ after so many moving parts have come together,” said Len Jornlin, CEO of Empower Energies. “Projects like this one are characterized by a complex set of transactions, and the collaboration of so many stakeholders. We were thrilled to serve as the hub of all this effort. It enabled us to connect the dots, and help our co-developer, EPG Solar, to get the project over the finish line for Green States Energy and the Town of Shirley.”

Empower Energies and EPG Solar selected Green States Energy, Inc., to be the investor/owner of the solar system.

“What a great fit this is for us,” said Stephen Clevett, CEO of Green States Energy. “As an owner and operator of clean electric generation plants, of course it is our objective is to build our asset base. And this project is perfectly scaled for our growth strategy at this particular point in time. But we also want to work with customers and partners who share our values, and are moving forward for the right reasons. We found that here, and we look forward to being part of the Shirley and Devens communities for years to come.”

“This facility is the culmination of two years of work involving multiple agencies and municipal entities, with everyone striving toward one common goal: To take care of the residents in the community,” said Town of Shirley Energy Committee Chairman Bryan Dumont. “The result is that the Shirley Water District is going to generate revenue which is going to help them offset expenses, and the town is going to do the same thing.”

Shirley Energy Committee Secretary Ann Towne expanded on that theme, noting that the solar facility provides a revenue stream to the Water District in the form of a land lease, and to the Town of Shirley in the form of an annual tax payment. “It’s a 20-year agreement, with a 10-year renewable option,” she said. “We negotiated a contract this past Christmas Eve and, within six months, ‘Voila!’ The system is generating power.”

And, according to Stanley, because the system is generating clean electricity, it reduces the amount of coal necessary for the production of that same amount of electricity by 3,650,000 lbs. “This is why Governor Patrick’s solar and clean energy program is so pertinent,” he added. “Because it enables us to offset the carbon-based fuel that we would otherwise be using to produce the electricity that powers our lives.”

Jornlin noted that the Shirley installation supports Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s goal of 1600MW of solar development by 2020. “Massachusetts is really leading right now, Jornlin said. “From the Patrick Administration to communities like Shirley that are really making it happen, the policy, the political will, the incentives, and the local engagement are all there in Massachusetts.”

“We’re certain that this (installation) is going to stand as a model for communities across the Commonwealth which are looking to invest in solar projects,” noted Meagan Green, District Director for Massachusetts State Representative Jennifer Benson.

Meg Lusardi, Acting Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), agreed. “This installation is a huge achievement,” Lusardi said. “As we always like to say at DOER, the best things really do happen at the local level. Shirley was designated as a Green Community in December of 2011. And now we’re celebrating the completion of the first installation of a three-phase solar development project. The town of Shirley is definitely doing its part to lead Massachusetts in its clean energy agenda.”

“The profile of energy is changing dramatically, and as people have come to understand solar and the other renewable energy technologies that we offer, there are so many ‘win-win’ opportunities available at the community level, and beyond,” Jornlin concluded. “That is certainly the case in Shirley. This project is a great example of where the town and its citizens, the land owner, the electricity off-taker, and the system owner all benefit, while creating jobs and opportunity right here in their community. We are privileged to have served as the developer on this project, and we look forward to the opportunity to work again with the great team that Shirley has assembled on future phases of this project.”

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Vice President, Strategic Marketing
50 Citizen’s Way, Suite 403
Frederick, MD 21701 USA
Office: 248 852-1300 x2160
Email: michael.wright@empowerenergies.com

About Empower Energies

Empower Energies, Inc., with offices in Frederick, Maryland and Troy, Michigan, is a clean energy portfolio solutions provider focused on applying the right mix of solar, cogeneration, and energy optimization solutions – with financing – to meet the business and sustainability objectives of municipalities, universities, schools, and hospitals, as well as multi-facility industrial and commercial organizations, such as General Motors, both in the United States and internationally. More information about Empower Energies can be found at http://www.empowerenergies.com.

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About Us

Empower Energies, Inc., with offices in Frederick, Maryland and Troy, Michigan, is a clean energy portfolio solutions provider focused on applying the right mix of solar and cogeneration – with financing – to meet the business and sustainability objectives of multi-facility industrial and commercial organizations, such as General Motors, as well as municipalities, universities, schools, and hospitals, both in the United States and internationally. More information about Empower Energies can be found at www.empowerenergies.com.

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Quick facts

PV Solar System - Town of Shirley, MA Specifications Location: Town of Shirley Client: Shirley Water District Size: 3.79 MWDC Size: 27 Acres (20 Acres of active power production) Type: Ground mount Modules: 13,047 Inverters: 6 Power Produced: 4,927,000kWh/year Homes Powered: 467 homes electricity usage per year (equivalent)
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PV Solar System - Town of Shirley, MA Environmental Offsets per year CO2: Removes 3,397 metric tons of CO2 Trees: One Acre of trees reduces 1.22 Metric Tons of CO2 This system removes as much CO2 from the atmosphere as 2,784 acres of trees Coal: 3,650,000 lbs. of coal burned Cars: The amount of CO2 produced by 715 passenger cars
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PV Solar System - Town of Shirley, MA Active participants in the development process for the Shirley project •Empower Energies •EPG Solar •Devens Utilities Department (Massachusetts Development Finance Agency) •Shirley Water District •Green States Energy (GSE) •Green Earth Developers (GED) •S&C Electric Company •Goldsmith, Prest & Ringwall (GPR) •KMB Design Group •Town of Shirley
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Quotes

“We joked in the office that Empower’s Micah Stanley was in the Town of Shirley so much that, in time, he might end up becoming the Deputy Mayor. And that’s what it takes to get engaged in the community, to understand the local issues in all their forms, and to deliver on the promise of a project.”
Len Jornlin, CEO, Empower Energies