Water, wastewater plants in Mass. to get stimulus-funded solar power

Feb. 6, 2010
NORTH ANDOVER, MA, Feb. 5, 2010 -- Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced the award of federal stimulus-funded contracts to install 4.1 megawatts (MW) of solar energy at 12 public water and wastewater treatment facilities...

• Patrick-Murray Administration announces award of largest-ever state contract for installation of solar power

NORTH ANDOVER, MA, Feb. 5, 2010 -- As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's Massachusetts Recovery Plan, Governor Deval Patrick today announced the award of federal stimulus-funded contracts to install 4.1 megawatts (MW) of solar energy at 12 public water and wastewater treatment facilities throughout the Commonwealth. These projects will help to reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas impacts while creating jobs and growing the state's solar industry. The 12 contracts represent the state's largest-ever award for solar installation at public facilities.

Worth approximately $20 million in ARRA funding, the projects announced today are expected to be complete between June 2010 and July 2011. They include municipal and regional facilities in Ashland, Hyannis, Chelmsford, Easton, Fairhaven, Falmouth, Holden, Marlborough, Blackstone/Millbury, East Freetown, Pittsfield and Townsend.

Governor Patrick made the announcement at the North Andover logistics center of Nexamp Inc., a four-year old veteran-founded clean energy company that employs 45 skilled workers -- including many veterans -- up from just six employees in 2006. Nexamp and its partner, Florence Electric of Taunton, won the contracts through a competitive solicitation by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER).

"Over the past three years, we have built a vibrant solar industry in Massachusetts -- quadrupling the number of companies and more than doubling the number of jobs in the solar energy sector," Governor Patrick said. "The projects we're announcing today continue that success -- putting federal stimulus dollars to work installing solar panels that will produce clean, renewable power for municipalities within a few short months."

"This investment will help sustain our high clean drinking water standards without using so much energy. Facilities throughout our state can continue to ensure our water is clean and safe, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and help put people back to work," said Senator John Kerry.

"One of the many important and farsighted aspects of the Recovery Act is that it enables cities and towns to modernize their aging infrastructure in a way that simultaneously increases their energy efficiency and helps reduce the strain on their municipal budgets. Furthermore, these federal dollars will put people to work all across the Commonwealth in a manner envisioned by the Green Jobs Act, which I co-authored in 2007. I am pleased that a company located in North Andover, which I have the privilege of representing, will be taking the lead on such a worthy effort," said Congressman John F. Tierney.

"These investments will not only help communities reduce their energy costs, but will help stimulate the economy and create jobs," said Congressman William Delahunt. "I want to commend the Falmouth Board of Selectmen, Barnstable Town Manager John Klimm and Public Works Director Mark Ells for their strong support for these important renewable energy projects."

"Today's announcement will improve water infrastructure in Chelmsford while simultaneously creating local jobs," said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. "This is a good investment in the town and I thank Governor Patrick for his ongoing efforts to expand the Commonwealth's clean energy portfolio."

"Nexamp is honored to be selected through this highly competitive process to design and install these important solar projects. We look forward to optimizing the Massachusetts solar stimulus funding to provide long-term savings to each of the sites while creating skilled, green-collar jobs," said Dan Leary, President and Chief Operating Officer at Nexamp.

Once complete, the solar projects will enable the 12 water and wastewater facilities to save nearly $650,000 per year by cutting conventional energy use by approximately 4.5 million kilowatt hours annually -- roughly equal to the energy needed to power 600 households per year.

The 12 projects are funded out of $185 million in federal stimulus dollars awarded to Massachusetts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finance 127 water and wastewater infrastructure projects through the State Revolving Fund (SRF) administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) requires that 20 percent of federal stimulus funds for SRF be used for "green infrastructure" improvements at water and wastewater treatment plants -- facilities that account for nearly one-third of energy use by Massachusetts cities and towns.

Massachusetts was the first state to get EPA approval to use SRF funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy activities. In fact, the Commonwealth's Energy Management Pilot served as a model for the 20 percent SRF green infrastructure requirement in the ARRA.

"The projects announced today not only create clean energy jobs, but also tackle a big environmental challenge. Drinking water and wastewater treatment plants are vital for protecting water quality and human health, but are also huge municipal energy users with a big carbon footprint," Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles said. "When Governor Patrick combined energy and environment in one secretariat, we set out to make these facilities both energy efficient and producers of on-site clean energy. In so doing, we created a national model that the Recovery Act has spread to all 50 states."

"This commitment to on-site power generation will bring these municipal facilities closer to achieving zero net energy status, resulting in long-term energy cost savings," said MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt. "By participating, these facilities are also setting the 'green' example for the other treatment plants across the Commonwealth to follow."

"With these 12 projects -- the largest single solar procurement in the Commonwealth's history -- the state is partnering with cities and towns to make good on Governor Patrick's promise of a clean energy future," said DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice.

Solar PV installations are slated for the following locations:

  • Ashland Ponderosa Public Works Facility
  • Barnstable Wastewater Treatment Facility (Hyannis)
  • Chelmsford Crooked Spring Water Treatment Facility
  • Easton Water Division
  • Fairhaven Wastewater Plant
  • Falmouth Crooked Pond Water Filtration Facility
  • Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Carroll Water Treatment Plant (Marlborough)
  • New Bedford Water Division Quittacas Water Plant (East Freetown)
  • Pittsfield Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Townsend Water System
  • Upper Blackstone Wastewater Pollution Abatement District Regional Wastewater Plant (Blackstone and Millbury)
  • Worcester Water Filtration Plant (Holden)

The contracts announced today are part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's Massachusetts Solar Stimulus program -- a plan to use ARRA funding to expand the Commonwealth's solar power capacity by up to 13 MW. In addition to the water and wastewater treatment facility projects, plans are underway to install solar PV at a variety of public facilities across the state including colleges, housing projects and transportation facilities.

By the end of 2010, Massachusetts will see a nearly 20-fold increase in solar installations. ARRA-funded solar installations on water and wastewater treatment facilities, and other public buildings and PV projects assisted by Commonwealth Solar rebates will bring the state to approximately 63 MW by the end of 2010, up from 3.5 MW when Governor Patrick took office. More than 18 MW of solar power are currently up and running across Massachusetts.

The Patrick-Murray Administration's emphasis on solar power is having a significant impact on the Commonwealth's solar power industry. Since the launch of Commonwealth Solar in January 2008, the number of installation contractors and subcontractors has quadrupled from roughly 50 to nearly 200. And a recent survey of 98 solar PV manufacturers, integrators and installers revealed that they doubled their Massachusetts employment in one year -- 1,086 to 2,075 -- from year end 2007 to 2008, and expected to add another 960 employees in 2009. Eighty percent of these firms added employees in 2008, and all but 11 planned to expand their workforce in 2009.

"This is a win-win for everyone," said Senator Marc R. Pacheco, Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Federal Stimulus Oversight. "Twelve facilities will improve their energy efficiency, which will reduce greenhouse gases and will create 'green jobs.' This is a large step forward for Massachusetts improving its alternative energy use and getting people back to work. I am especially pleased that a company right from my own district is embracing this clean energy movement and is taking advantage of the economic opportunities it presents."

"Amidst concerns that stimulus funds are primarily creating public sector jobs, this project is an example of making targeted investments in private companies that will sustain business in the private sector and provide a long term benefit for the public," said Representative David P. Linsky, House Chair, Joint Committee on Federal Stimulus Oversight.

"Over the last few years, I've been fortunate to watch Dan Leary and Will Thompson, two North Andover High School graduates, develop effective clean energy solutions right here in our community," said Representative David Torrisi. "I am extremely proud of them and excited to witness a local company showing such tremendous success and growth. I congratulate the entire Nexamp team for their innovation, determination and leadership."

"'Going 'green' is not just a passing trend, but a smart and increasingly necessary strategy for maintaining healthy water sources and a thriving living environment," said Representative Stephen R. Canessa. "I commend the Governor and this North Andover-Taunton joint business venture for their promotion of energy conservation. The region -- its people, its environment and its municipalities -- will experience the positive short-term and long-term benefits of 'going green' through this grant initiative."

"As someone who has used solar energy to assist in heating my home for years, I am thrilled to see this award to a Taunton company who has taken the lead in solar energy in our area and who has brought green jobs to our community," said Representative James H. Fagan. "I believe this is the way of the future."

"This is another win-win for the people of the South Coast and the Commonwealth," said Representative Patricia A. Haddad, who represents a quarter of the City of Taunton. "It supports local businesses via private-public partnerships and at the same time further enhances our collective efforts in green technology. Congratulations to Florence Electric."

Investments in renewable energy are critical components of Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan, which combines state, federal and, where possible, private efforts to provide immediate and long-term relief and position the Commonwealth for recovery in the following ways:

  • Deliver immediate relief by investing in the road, bridge and rail projects that put people to work today and providing safety net services that sustain people who are especially vulnerable during an economic crisis;
  • Build a better tomorrow through education and infrastructure investments that strengthen our economic competitiveness, prepare workers for the jobs of the future, and support clean energy, broadband, and technology projects that cut costs while growing the economy; and
  • Reform state government by eliminating the pension and ethics loopholes that discredit the work of government and revitalize the transportation networks that have suffered from decades of neglect and inaction.


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