Nautilus Solar Energy and ISM Solar Development celebrated the opening of a 3.43-MW community solar project sited on a remediated EPA superfund site. Located in Cranston, Rhode Island, the project represents the transformation a former environmental liability into an environmental asset, providing clean energy to 509 Rhode Island households that reside in National Grid’s territory.
“Today, we are celebrating the transformation of a brownfield into a clean, renewable energy source, while making the benefits of solar power available to more Rhode Islanders,” said Gov. Dan McKee at a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday alongside Speaker of the House Joe Shekarchi, State Representative Brandon Potter, Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor, and community partners. “The state’s community solar program allows National Grid customers, who want to reduce carbon emissions but who cannot install solar panels on their own homes, to subscribe to a local solar project and receive a discount on their electric bills. This locally constructed community solar project provides environmental and economic benefits and is a win-win for the State of Rhode Island and its constituents and I congratulate ISM Solar, Watershed Geo and Nautilus Solar.”
The community solar project was developed by ISM Solar, and Nautilus serves as the owner-operator responsible for the project management, long-term asset management and maintenance services for the projects.
Installing community solar projects on capped landfills has proven an effective way to transform typically unused space into a renewable energy source. The project is uniquely built on ClosureTurf, a patented brownfield closure system designed to withstand supporting 9,000 solar panels attached to a racking system and held down by over 60,000 ballast blocks to protect the landfill cap. Engineered by Watershed Geosynthetics, an environmental solutions company, this innovative material is specifically designed to address and solve soil erosion, slope integrity, gas emission, installation and maintenance cost control, EPA regulation compliance, and longevity of structure and appearance.
“We are honored to be a part of this innovative and industry-changing project. Seeing our closure and solar integration technologies become a reality and play a role in turning a liability into a green energy asset for the community is very exciting,” said Mike Ayers, CEO of Watershed Geo.
The developers partner closely with communities to produce local tax revenue, bring new job opportunities, and deliver energy savings to Rhode Islanders. In fact, the Cranston community solar project provides a direct benefit to the local Rhode Island economy through the creation of over 7,000 hours and 124 worker-days of construction jobs, in addition to supporting 20-25 full-time positions for ongoing electrical and site vegetation management crews.