Solar Farms a Viable Renewable Energy Resource in New England

Articles | Jul 2012

Solar Farms a Viable Renewable Energy Resource in New England

July 12, 2012  |  Articles
Brandon Blanchard, P.E., ENV SP
Managing Engineer in Pare's Environmental Division
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We don’t always think about the Northeast as a practical region for utility scale solar power, but several solar projects have developed somewhat quietly throughout southern New England in recent years. One such project is a new solar farm constructed by Con Edison Development in a rural section of Dartmouth, MA. The 2.5 MW solar farm facility was recently completed and includes 9,000 solar panels spread out over 17 acres, making it the largest active solar farm in Massachusetts. The company has developed similar projects in other nearby towns, including Marshfield, MA. While this project is a private development, Dartmouth already has close to 10 MW of municipal renewable energy production at other sites in town.

Many communities look to their closed landfills for solar farms and these sites promise to be very attractive. While closed landfills present their challenges, the benefits are numerous. First, landfills are cleared of vegetation and offer direct exposure to sunlight over a large area. Landfills are also often located in isolated areas, where the impacts to neighboring property owners are far less likely. Finally, it provides a potential revenue source on a property that otherwise has little economic value.

If you would like to see an aerial view of this facility during construction, fly to these coordinates in Google Earth:

               41 40.8′ N

               71 02.0′ W