News & Press
Easthampton solar array produces nearly 267,000 kilowatt-hours of power in 1st month of billing
July 14, 2012
EASTHAMPTON â€” The solar array on the Oliver Street landfill produced nearly 267,000 kilowatt-hours in electricity last month, and that could save the city about $7,300 for the month in electric costs.
Mayor Michael A. Tautznik said the process is complicated and Western Massachusetts Electric Co. has not yet credited the city. This was the first month billing began for the project.
Borrego Solar Systems Inc., which installed the system, billed the city 6 cents per kilowatt-hour while the electric company should credit the city 9 cents per kilowatt-hour. But Tautznik said he wants to wait to see the actual dollar amount when the credits are issued.
The array went up this spring and is expected to produce 3 million kilowatt-hours a year and save residents $1.5 million on power over 10 years.
Work was completed in December, but several issues had to be resolved before the array could become operational this spring.
Tautznik said the city could save more than $90,000 in the first year of operation.
The savings will depend on the cost of electricity, he said. He was notified that the cost now is 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, down one cent from June.
He said clouds and the angle of the sun in the different seasons affect the solar output and the city will have a better understanding at the end of the first year how much was generated.
When undertaking the project officials knew "it would be profitable for the consumer and for the taxpayer." But he also said "it was the right thing to do."
The array was the first such project under construction in the state. Solar projects have come on line in Holyoke and Springfield. Ludlow officials signed a lease with Borrego in March, and Amherst officials are planning to move ahead with a project on a capped landfill in that town, among the area communities seeking power from the sun.
According to the PowerDash website, monitoring output at Oliver Street, the city has produced enough electricity for 23,823 days of electric use for the average user. PowerDash began monitoring May 17.
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