NORTH ANDOVER — A local solar power installation company hit the lottery yesterday, as Gov. Deval Patrick and a host of other public officials announced that the company had just been awarded a $20 million state contract to put up solar panels at 12 municipal water and sewer treatment plants around the state.
Nexamp Inc., a North Andover company started four years ago by two local U.S. Army veterans, expects to hire an additional 100 workers with the money, which is part of President Barack Obama's federal economic stimulus package.
"Anyone questioning whether the stimulus package is creating jobs should come to Nexamp," Patrick said in an apparent swipe at newly minted U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican from Wrentham.
Brown, sworn in Thursday night, was quoted late last month as saying that Patrick hadn't been doing enough to spend the millions in stimulus dollars being funneled to the state.
Yesterday, Patrick had an answer.
"This is job creation in the innovation economy," said Patrick, holding a press conference in the old Lucent plant, which once housed 12,000 employees making telephone equipment for Western Electric. The sprawling plant is now nearly empty, with small companies like Nexamp filling nooks and crannies of the once thriving industrial concern.
State Environment Secretary Ian Bowles said companies like Nexamp will be creating jobs in the future as the country switches from its dependence on foreign, imported petroleum products to renewable energy.
He touted the state's push to increase the use of solar power across the state, noting that the $20 million project will create 4 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 4,000 homes, or, in this case, 12 water and sewer treatment plants.
Nexamp will be working with a partner in the project, Florence Electric of Taunton, to erect the ground-based or roof-mounted systems on water and sewer plants in Ashland, Hyannis, Chelmsford, Easton, Fairhaven, Falmouth, Holden, Marlborough, Blackstone/Millbury, East Freetown, Pittsfield and Townsend.
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