RTS Solar/Project Planning

From Green Needham
Jump to: navigation, search

Interconnect Resources

  • DoER provides this page of Interconnect information and resources
  • DoER, MassCEC and Utilities run Interconnect Seminars

Conference Call with Michael, Monica and Ed 2010-01-10

  • Citizens plus Rivermore?
  • Got information from them (note)
  • Wants to avoid RFP
  • Brightfields (Wellesley)
  • Person there had an inquiry from Steve Rosenstock
  • Brightfields did a project with Scituate (press clipping)
  • 2.4 MW, 20 year projects, 10 cents to developer?
  • $200,000 net savings per year...
  • Brightfields developing projects in Freetown and
  • Experience building on brownfields
  • Ron Kelly from Brightfields was previously a Needham resident
  • Thought could do more (thinks there's 12 acres)
  • Interested in coming over to see the site
  • Monica worried about conflict of interest....
  • Talked with NStar rep for Needham - get him involved in the process of working with us
  • Jan Goodell - works for Frank
  • Get the connection for us to the developers
  • Keep her connected as an expert resource
  • Ed talked with Alteris
  • Similar conversation as with Monica
  • People putting these projects in at no cost to the Town, selling the power back to the town at 5 to 10 cents
  • They want to do it without bidding as well
  • Claims that they did something in New Bedford

  • Monica
  • FERC looking at net metering rates...what states have done...utilities were made whole...
  • 1-3% of peak load maximum
  • Many projects are getting into the queue for interconnects.
  • Follow-ups
  • Monica to provide all contact information
  • Ed to begin conversations with Jan Goodell (NStar rep for Needham)
  • Michael to
  • circle back with Selectmen, Kate
  • get site plans and electric usage for developers (Chip, Mario)
  • Talk with Dave Davison on structures
  • Investigate other structural options (if feasible0

Interconnect with Grid - NStar

Connecting an solar PV to the grid requires coordination with the utility (NStar) as well and has a cost which depends on the equipment needed and the capacity and proximity of the utilty's feed lines.

Monica Kachru is getting information from NStar (where she works) on the cost of interconnecting to the grid. Based on the location and the intention to interconnect at the Newman School (preferably) or the RTS buildings, the cost is likely to be reasonable as NStar has a reasonable capacity circuit in the vicinity. The initial analysis (Jan 2010) is below:

Hello Monica - Susan took a quick look at this and the "high" level review answer is that it should not be too big a cost to interconnect because there is a 13.8kV ckt nearby and the wire size should be able to take on the 41 or so additional amps that a 1MW gen would produce. You would need to talk to Joe Feraci I think to get the cost of the step-up transformer the customer would have to buy as well as additional metering etc costs to get a rough ballpark estimate. I think with this info Joe or someone in his area could provide the rough cost estimate for this interconnect. Betty  

Meeting with DoER on Needham Renewable Energy Projects

We have scheduled a meeting with Mark Sylvia and several staff members at DoER on January 13th to discuss Needham's renewable energy projects (Wind Feasibility Study and RTS Solar). The goal is to connect us to available resources and to generate visibility and interest at the State level for these projects.

Jerry Wasserman and Michael Greis met with:

  • Mark Sylvia - Director, Green Communities
  • Dwayne Breger - Division Director, Renewable and Alternative Energy Development
  • Natalie Howlett - Renewable Energy Project Coordinator

We outlined what we had done so far on each project, the current status and next steps for each. The DoER team was very impressed by what we had accomplished and very supportive of our continuing efforts. They will be a resource and support us as best they can.

We discussed challenges and resources around the key areas - evaluation, permitting and siting, grid interconnect/utility relationship, community engagement and financing. We also confirmed what we understood about the key state programs in process or available, especially the SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credit) carve-out program now being finalized.

Rather than go through every discussion item, I'll just highlight the follow-up items:

  • Wind Viewer - (an online tool to evaluate wind potential at specific locations) although this is not likely to differ much from the MTC desktop study, the tool is available and they will run our location through it
  • Mark will connect us with Joanne Bissetta, the Green Communities rep who covers Needham. She previously worked at the DEP and may be able to assist with DEP interactions.
  • The second DEP workshop on renewable energy in closed landfills next week is full. There will be several new presentations, including one on financing. Those presentations will be available on the web and I'll download them. We want to try to get to the next one this spring.
  • Encouraged us to check again with the UMass Amherst Renewable Energy Center on having them do our wind study - they have equipment and are able to do wind studies for a reasonable cost.
  • Offered to come to meetings with Town Boards as we move forward
  • Talk to staff in several communities who are working on or have completed similar projects. They suggested (spelling of names may be off):
  • Faltmouth (1 or 1.5 mW turbine just installed) - Heather Harper
  • Mashpee - (landfill site - I think solar) - Tom Mayo, Planning
  • Fairhaven - Land Lease for renewable energy - Jeff Osuch (Executive Secretary)
  • Medford (100 kw turbine) - Mayor Glynn, whom Jerry knows. I also have a contact of the person who did the staff work from Fred Schlicher of MCAN
  • Amherst - (RFP for solar PV on landfill, but only got one response

Feasibility Study

Chapman Construction has provided a quote for a full feasiblity study of a Solar PV installation at the RTS. The cost is $5,000. We are exploring how that could be funded in the near term.


A full build-out of 1 MW of solar would cost in the range of $6 million. While a partial or staged build-out would be possible, the most aggressive pricing and the greatest interest from supporting parties (like the state) would be generated by a larger, rather than smaller, installation.

Renewable Energy on Closed Landfills

Generating renewable energy on closed landfill sites is a stated goal of the Commonwealth's energy programs. This is facilitated by the EOEEA organizational structure put in place by the Patrick administration, which brings together under one Secretary (Ian Bowles) the energy, regulatory and environmental policy and oversight functions.

The Mass DEP is holding seminars on renewable energy projects on closed landfills. They held one seminar last year and have one scheduled for 1/19/10. Both quickly reached capacity so further seminars may be scheduled.


As of January, 2010, the DoER is rolling out a new series of incentive programs to follow on to the highly successful Commonwealth Solar initiative. These programs cover a range of solar installations.

The program most relevant to this project is a Solar Carve-Out for the Renewable Portfolio Standard as outlined in the Green Communities Act.

The proposed creation of a new type of Solar renewable energy credit and a clearinghouse would apply to projects up to 2 MW and is likely to be the program applicable to any RTS Solar installation project.

Other Projects/Communities

Other Communities