By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – On June 29, local and state dignitaries gathered on a capped portion of the Shrewsbury landfill at 620 Hartford Turnpike, to take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicating an array of 12,000 solar panels situated over 12 acres that were constructed over the past few months.
Shrewsbury took a giant leap forward in providing residents with renewable energy through a partnership between Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations (SELCO) and the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC), a nonprofit, public corporation and political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that provides capital and engineering expertise to member utilities.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and fellow Shrewsbury residents, State Rep. Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury), Mass. Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton and Commissioner of the Mass. Department of Agricultural Resources John Lebeaux, took part in the ceremony. State Sen. Michel Moore (D-Millbury) was also in attendance.
“SELCO and the town of Shrewsbury have been collaborating for over four years,” said SELCO Commission Chair Robert Holland. “Diligence and hard work is being realized today.”
Two previous bids for projects had been in place only to be cancelled.
This Solar Project is a joint effort of SELCO, MMWEC, the town of Shrewsbury and Wheelabrator. The 3.8-megawatt solar array will produce over four million kilowatt hours of clean renewable energy on an annual basis and meets the mission of SELCO to provide reliable power at the best price for the next 25 years.
MMWEC will own the solar array through the period of the lease. SELCO will operate and maintain the array and when the lease expires SELCO will assume ownership.
SELCO General Manager Michael Hale stated, “The clean power attributes further add to our strategy of diversifying our energy source portfolio.”
“I am so happy to be here to celebrate this milestone moment,” Polito added. “I’m very proud of you. I know how hard you’ve worked on this and this is clearly a team effort.”
One hundred percent of the output of this array will be offered to individual customers of SELCO through an optional community-shared solar program. The array is expected to generate enough energy to power over 400 single family homes.
“We right now in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have the two single largest procurements of renewable energy in the commonwealth’s history under way at this very moment and that is largely due to the leadership of Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito,” Beaton said.
Moore and Kane also presented citations to SELCO commemorating the occasion.