The city of New Bedford, Mass., has announced plans to install solar panels at up to 20 city properties—schools, municipal buildings and land parcels—as part of an initiative that will ultimately generate 10 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 1,500 homes.
The $40 million project, the largest citywide solar foray in the state, will be funded primarily by ConEdison Solutions, a subsidiary of the New York-based Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE: ED), and is expected to go online no later than 2013. Under an already signed power purchase agreement, the project could save the city some $10 million, or 25%, in energy expenses over 20-plus years.
New Bedford is only the latest place where ConEd has flexed its renewable energy muscles. Recently named the “greenest” public utility in the U.S. by Newsweek, the regional energy heavyweight has been working to produce grid-scale solar power for 30 years.
Its development arm jointly owns (with Panda Solar Ventures LLC) Pilesgrove Solar Farm, a 20-megawatt facility being constructed in southern New Jersey. When completed, the project will be among the largest in the nation.
The utility, the primary electricity provider to New York City, recently created an online guide to help residential customers in the Big Apple save time and money spent on the paperwork required to install solar systems at home, a process which can take up to a year to complete.
According to City University of New York (CUNY), two-thirds of the city’s rooftops are suitable for solar panels, which have the potential to meet half of its demand for electricity during peak periods.
November 21, 2011