Exciting Month for Solar in Grafton, MA

As the summer heats up here in the Northeast, NECEC members are busy showing off the result of a busy spring with ribbon cuttings and celebrations of solar projects in numerous Massachusetts towns. One town in particular, Grafton, Massachusetts, is booming with new solar projects.

On Monday, June 5, NECEC members NRG Energy and PowerOptions celebrated the completion of a 2 MW solar installation at Tufts University’s’ Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton.  The unveiling included a tour of the new solar array, as well as a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring remarks from Tufts University President Anthony Monaco and NRG’s Vice President of Sustainability, Bruno Sarda. Grafton’s State Representative David Muradian, and State Senator Michael Moore both attended the event, and presented official citations to Tufts and NRG for the project, which will generate enough electricity to power about 40 percent of the Grafton Campus’ annual energy consumption and is expected to save the university $5.3 million over the next 20 years.

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, attendees were invited to a panel discussion on institutional strategies for advancing Massachusetts’ renewable energy future.  Moderated by Deborah Kochevar, Dean of the Cummings Veterinary School, the panel featured a diverse set of expert representatives from NRG, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), Tufts University, and PowerOptions.  Overall, the panelists shared an overwhelmingly positive outlook for the future of renewable energy in the state, citing the project as a small but symbolic clean energy victory in the face of negative national headlines about clean energy.  

Just a few weeks later, BlueWave Solar held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the completion of a 3.7 MW solar installation at the Knowlton Family Farm in Grafton.  The ceremony included remarks from BlueWave CEO Trevor Hardy, Director of External Affairs Mark Sylvia, and others.  Many attendees, including State Representative David Muradian, Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini, and a representative from Congressman McGovern’s office, who praised BlueWave for completing this community-oriented solar project . The project will provide power to numerous offtakers, including public housing authorities in Lowell, Tyngsborough, Webster, and Westborough, the Marlborough Community Development Authority, and the City of Haverhill.  These offtakers are expected to save a combined $10 million in electricity costs over the duration of their contracts through solar net metering credits.  Furthermore, revenue from this project will allow the Knowltons to continue operating their family farm, which has been functioning since the 1800’s.  

NECEC members NRG, PowerOptions, and BlueWave Solar are just three of the numerous solar companies bringing the benefits of solar to states throughout the Northeast, contributing to state and local sustainability goals and providing financially sound investments to the communities they serve. Both Grafton installations underscore the economic upside that accompanies the clear energy and environmental benefits of solar.

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Kelsey Smithwood

Kelsey is NECEC's Products, Research, & Development Consultant.