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First Wind marks start of commercial operations at second largest solar project in Massachusetts
Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014

First Wind, an independent U.S.-based renewable energy company, today celebrated the end of construction of the Warren Solar project and announced that commercial operations have begun. In a ceremony that included state and community leaders, Massachusetts energy officials, and renewable energy industry representatives, the 14 megawatt (MW) (AC) Worcester County-based project was recognized not only as joining First Wind’s 3 MW (AC) Millbury, MA solar project in commercial operations, but also as part of First Wind’s first solar developments and first renewable energy projects in its home state of Massachusetts.

“As Massachusetts leads the way in bringing clean energy to homes and business across the Commonwealth, we are thrilled to have partners like First Wind provide a financial boost and local benefits to the area”

“As Massachusetts leads the way in bringing clean energy to homes and business across the Commonwealth, we are thrilled to have partners like First Wind provide a financial boost and local benefits to the area,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett. “With this project, First Wind is contributing to our sustainable future and helping to reach Governor Patrick’s goal of 1,600 MW installed by 2020.”

Located at three sites in the town of Warren, MA, construction began in the fall of 2013 after a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) was finalized with the University of Massachusetts (UMass). As part of the PPA, the UMass Lowell campus and UMass Medical School in Worcester will receive a portion of the financial benefit resulting from the Warren projects. UMass Lowell and UMass Medical School are expected to avoid an estimated $410,000 and $670,000 in utility costs per annum, respectively over the course of the 30-year agreement.

John Baker, UMass Medical School’s associate vice chancellor for facilities noted, “Since we have limited locations where on-site solar would work, we are restricted in our ability to do a large on-site solar installation. When we learned about the virtual net metering program, we realized instantly that the financial and environmental benefits could be substantial. The UMass Medical School portion of the First Wind project will generate enough energy to power roughly 932 homes in New England annually and produce an estimated $400,000 in savings each year for the UMass Medical School. We plan to leverage that money and use it to do more energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.”

“Environmental stewardship is one of our core values and we are proud to partner with First Wind to expand the amount of clean, renewable energy available while also realizing financial benefits,” said Tom Dreyer, UMass Lowell’s associate vice chancellor for facilities. “As a public higher education institution, we also strive to promote a sustainability-conscious community. By helping to get clean and cost competitive energy built we are not only saving money, we’re setting a powerful example for others to follow.”

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