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Largest Solar Array in New England Switched on

published: 2010-11-01 15:06

Western Massachusetts Electric Company announced that its 1.8-megawatt solar installation is up and running.

The project, located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is the first part of what will be a 6-megawatt solar facility. The 1.8-megawatt solar plant that was activated comprises 6,500 panels and should produce 2 million kilowatt-hours of energy each year - enough to power 300 average homes.

"Large-scale solar energy today becomes a reality in the Commonwealth," WMECo president Peter Clarke said Wednesday at the facility's unveiling.

The new array will produce $150,000 in annual tax revenue for the city of Pittsfield. Besides, officials said, it should form the backbone of western Massachusetts' clean-energy economy.

"If we want to create jobs here in Berkshire County and in Pittsfield, we need to have the right energy policy," State Senator Benjamin B. Downing was quoted as saying. "You're seeing the fruition of that policy today."

WMECo's project illustrates that solar can succeed even in parts of the country with highly variable weather. As the Pittsfield solar installation shows, solar power is fast becoming a viable alternative to conventionally produced energy.

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