By Shawn Regan
---- — GROVELAND — More than 500 homes in town are now receiving electricity from one of the state’s largest solar farms.
ConEdison Development recently completed the 3.5 megawatt, ground-mounted facility at 454 Main St. The project began a year ago and was completed this month, said Michael Cloutier, manager of the Groveland Electric Light Department.
The installation, which consists of 12,670 solar panels, was developed by ConEdison and the Groveland Electric Light Department. It is the fourth largest solar facility in Massachusetts, Cloutier said.
ConEdison is leasing the 15-acre site from the Electric Light Department and has a 20-year agreement to sell electricity from the solar plant back to the department to be used exclusively in Groveland, Cloutier said.
The facility generates enough electricity to provide power for 525 average-sized homes, Cloutier said. A spokeswoman for ConEdison declined to disclose the cost of the project.
Bob Brady, one of three light department commissioners, said the project is indicative of the town’s dedication to preserving natural resources.
“The people of Groveland take a quiet pride in our dedication to preserving natural resources,” Brady said in a press release. “This substantial solar array underscores our commitment to environmental preservation.”
The town held a ceremony Wednesday to dedicate the facility to the memory of the late Howard Hill, a Groveland native who served the Groveland Electric Light Department for more than 40 years. Hill’s son and nephew attended the ceremony with local and state officials, including state Sen. Bruce Tarr and State Rep. Leonard Mirra, to dedicate a plaque for Hill at the front entrance to the facility.
Hill, a decorated World War II military veteran, played an instrumental role in the modernization of the light department as its long-time manager, Brady said.
“Groveland is a town that is setting a big example for the rest of Massachusetts,” said Mark Noyes, vice president of Con Edison Development. “Not only is the community promoting sustainability, but it also realizes future financial savings by tapping an energy supply that carries no fuel cost.”
The facility, spread over a 15-acre site owned by the Electric Light Department, was built by Gehrlicher Solar America Corporation and Mass. Electric Construction Co.
“Community by community, Massachusetts continues to build its national leadership in renewable energy and efficiency,” said Mark Sylvia, commissioner for the state Department of Energy Resources. “I congratulate Groveland on taking this exciting step to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy costs.”
Con Edison is one of the largest owners and operators of solar projects in North America.