The City has officially signed a lease with Chicopee Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison Development, Inc. (ConEdison Development), to construct a solar field on the site of the former Navy Housing property on James Street.
Request for Proposals (RFP) were issued in August. In September, the RFP Selection Committee, consisting of Community Development Director Michael Vedovelli, City Planner Lee Pouliot, Building Commissioner Carl Dietz, General Manager of Chicopee Electric Light Jeff Cady, and Community Development Planner & Project Administrator Jillian Ferguson, awarded the project to ConEdison Development.
ConEdison Development proposed a 3 megawatt (MW) ac photovoltaic solar system on 21.6 acres. Their design leaves 5.1 acres available for future industrial development in the Northeast corner of the site closest to the Airpark North industrial park. In order to meet the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC-II) mechanical completion deadline of January 8th, 2017, ConEdison Development has been working a very aggressive construction schedule.
In 2005, The City of Chicopee explored an acquisition of 27 acres of unused military housing. That transaction was completed in 2011. The site remained vacant for several years. In 2015, the City was awarded $1,000,000 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that required the City to match funds. Since then, $2 million has been used to remediate and clear the site to pursue a cost efficient solar photovoltaic system meeting Department of Defense, municipal and state renewable energy goals.
Once the solar system is in place and generating an estimated 3 megawatts of power, Chicopee Municipal Light Plant will be able to lower electricity costs to the base, a possible positive factor in any DOD evaluation of the base’s future viability.
The solar farm will also allow the City to further its long-term renewable energy goals.
“ConEdison Development is delighted to have been chosen to create a solar installation that will provide a renewable source of energy at the Westover Air Reserve Base site,” said Mark Noyes, President and CEO of ConEdison Development. “We look forward to working with the City of Chicopee to deliver a clean energy resource that will be of lasting value both to the base and to the community.”
“This is a homerun for the City and the neighborhood,” said Mayor Kos. “The site will see a substantial improvement moving from old dilapidated military housing to a regularly maintained solar field with 5.1 acres set aside for business development. We were able to address several issues while providing a resource for Westover and the City as well.”