The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has approved the first utility company proposal to own and operate solar energy installations, as authorized by the Green Communities Act of 2008. The decision gives the green light to Western Massachusetts Electric Co.'s (WMECO) plans to construct and deploy approximately 6 MW of solar photovoltaic power throughout its service territory.
The Green Communities Act gave utility companies the ability to own and operate solar electric installations up 50 MW. The WMECO order just approved includes a settlement between the company and the attorney general ensuring that costs of the utility's solar program will include stricter cost controls and be spread over more years than the company originally proposed, the DPU notes. WMECO's solar installations are expected to be fully operational by the end of 2012.