FRAMINGHAM – Ameresco, an energy efficiency and renewable energy company, along with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (Blue Cross) and BlueWave Solar (BlueWave), today, August 23 celebrated the launch of five recently completed Community Solar Projects with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Twin Elm Farm in Mendon.
The solar arrays located in Hopedale and Mendon, three of which are located at Twin Elm Farm, comprise a total of approximately 6.9 megawatts (MW) of renewable power. Overall, the projects will increase the amount of power generated by community solar in Massachusetts by an estimated 13% and reduce carbon emissions by approximately 6,300 metric tons, the equivalent of taking 1,328 cars off the road.
The solar projects, owned by Ameresco, and co-developed by BlueWave, were supported through a long-term agreement with anchor-offtaker Blue Cross to purchase 2.6 MW of net metering credits to apply to its utility bills. Credits from the projects will also allow nearly 200 residents and small businesses in the Blackstone Valley to lower their electricity costs and reduce carbon emissions.
“This project is a win-win for Blue Cross,” said Jay McQuaide, SVP of Corporate Communications & Citizenship, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, in a press release. “The cost savings will help us advance our mission of making quality health care affordable, and the environmental benefits align perfectly with our commitment to supporting renewable energy and helping our members live healthier lives.”
“Community Solar projects like these allow local citizens and businesses to benefit directly from the energy produced by these projects,” said Michael T. Bakas, Senior Vice President, Ameresco,in a statement. “We are honored to support Blue Cross, a leader in providing high-quality health care, in their efforts to positively impact the environment. Their commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship is a model for all to follow.”
“BlueWave is proud to have worked with Ameresco in developing the Mendon and Hopedale community solar projects. This is yet another example of the successful partnership between our two companies. As a result, these solar arrays will support Blue Cross’ effort to secure long term electricity savings and support local, clean solar energy that helps reduce harmful GHG emissions and provides those same benefits to local residents and businesses,” said Eric Graber-Lopez, President of BlueWave Solar. “We are also grateful for our partnership with the Varney Family. As the owners of the land that these projects are built on, the Varney Family has enabled the development of local, clean energy on their Twin Elm Farm while continuing to maintain active local farming.”
While exploring ideas on how to generate income on their 650+ acre farm in Mendon, the Varney Family took into consideration how the Town of Mendon and local residents viewed the farm and its defining landscape and a solar farm seemed to be the perfect fit.
The farm landowner, Elizabeth A. Varney, President/Treasurer, Varney Properties added, “The solar farm allows us to generate income, maintain the beauty of our agricultural land for residents and helps the town increase their tax base, not to mention the positive impact it has on the environment.”
“The demand for solar has skyrocketed over the last several years,” said Terry Sobolewski, Senior Vice President and Chief Consumer Officer at National Grid. “As customers continue to demand faster, cheaper access to cleaner energy, collaborations like the one we’re celebrating today are imperative to offering innovative solutions.”
Founded in 2000, Ameresco, Inc. is an independent provider of comprehensive services, energy efficiency, infrastructure upgrades, asset sustainability and renewable energy solutions for businesses and organizations throughout North America and Europe. With its corporate headquarters in Framingham, Ameresco has more than 1,000 employees providing local expertise in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.