Day: June 9, 2018

Hello Bethel: Completion of Solar Farm

Town of Bethel and Ameresco Celebrate Completion of Solar Farm on Capped Landfill

PRESS RELEASE
Power Purchase Agreement is expected to provide the Town with over 1.2 million kWh of annual energy savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

FRAMINGHAM, MA and BETHEL, CT – Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC), a leading energy efficiency and renewable energy company, and the Town of Bethel, hosted a ribbon-cutting On June 1 at the Town’s capped landfill to celebrate the completion of the solar photovoltaic (“PV”) facility. The Town partnered with Ameresco to develop the solar PV project under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Ameresco will operate and maintain the system for the term of the contract to ensure optimal energy production.

“For years, Town leadership, staff, and community volunteers have been working diligently to identify and implement meaningful energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions. With today’s ribbon-cutting, we celebrate another milestone in our journey to a more sustainable future,” said Matthew Knickerbocker, First Selectman, Town of Bethel. “This solar project represents a key piece of our overall community strategy to become more energy efficient and cost effective in our municipal energy operations.”

“I’m pleased to participate today to help recognize the Town’s significant contribution towards environmental stewardship,” said Tracy Babbidge, Bureau Chief for Energy Policy at DEEP. “I congratulate Bethel’s leadership for their commitment to protecting natural resources and inventiveness in finding a sustainable solution to the siting and development of renewable power for the financial benefit of the Town.”

Bethel’s solar farm is comprised of more than 2,900 photovoltaic panels totaling 947.7 kW DC and designed to generate over 1.2 million kWh of renewable electricity each year. The solar farm is connected directly to the local utility distribution system. The annual CO2 emissions reduction of 934 metric tons is equivalent to taking 200 cars off the road and annual electricity usage of 140 homes.

“Ameresco is delighted to have had the opportunity to work with the Town of Bethel on this solar project,” said David J. Anderson, Executive Vice President, Ameresco. “Renewable energy projects like this one directly benefit the Town. With 100% of the solar system’s energy generated used to power Bethel’s town buildings and operations, through virtual net metering, the Town’s consumption at key buildings is offset. Furthermore, it demonstrates the Town’s commitment to sustainability.”

This project brought the Town landfill into compliance with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The Town of Bethel is now being supplied by green renewable power.

Hello Bethel: Solar Farm Ribbon Cutting


L to R: Paul Szatkowski, Rich Straiton, Matt Knickerbocker, Ameresco’s James Daylor, Rep. Will Duff,
Sen. Toni Boucher, CT DEEP’s Tracy Babbidge, Energy Conservation Commission Head Bill Cratty
The official opening of Bethel’s solar farm on June 1 proves that patience can indeed be a virtue. This project, eight years in the making, came to fruition through the combined efforts of Bethel’s Energy Conservation Commission, the First Selectman’s Office, CT’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, state legislators, and Ameresco, which installed and will maintain the 2,916 solar panels.

In 2009, Connecticut passed a new measure on virtual net metering, which requires electric companies to provide a billing credit to customers who produce power using on-site generation. At that time solar farms were already an established part of energy production in other parts of the world. Matt Knickerbocker, before becoming First Selectman, saw this firsthand when his work would take him to Germany and France. In 2010, he and Selectmen Straitor and Szatkowski created the Energy Conservation to take advantage of the opportunity that virtual net metering provided. The Commission had two objectives: to reduce the town’s carbon footprint and to save taxpayers money.

The Energy Commission worked closely with DEEP to receive approval to repurpose the town’s landfill for the solar farm. DEEP is committed to repurposing landfills throughout the state as a means of preserving forests and farm land. At the ribbon cutting ceremony, DEEP’s Tracy Babbidge called Bethel’s solar farm “the most beautiful landfill in the state.” Ameresco has also been an excellent partner for Bethel, sticking with the project for years as the town overcame significant legislative hurdles in Hartford.

Bethel joins only a handful of other Connecticut towns to have established a solar farm. Senator Toni Boucher called Bethel, “a leader, a shining example.” Representative Will Duff noted that the solar farm “is a perfect example of how to lower energy costs and produce energy,” noting that Connecticut is “extremely dependent on energy coming from outside the state.”

First Selectman Knickerbocker brought everything full circle in his remarks at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Referring back to those solar farms he saw in Europe a decade ago, he said Bethel’s solar farm “is an example of the expression, ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’.”