Ameresco Inc., an energy efficiency and renewable energy company, joined healthcare provider Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (Blue Cross) and co-developer BlueWave Solar to celebrate the launch of five recently completed community solar projects with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Twin Elm Farm in Mendon, Mass. The five solar arrays total approximately 6.9 MW and were built in Hopedale and Mendon, with three of them sited at the Twin Elm Farm.
The community solar projects, owned by Ameresco and co-developed by BlueWave, were supported through a long-term agreement with anchor off-taker Blue Cross to purchase 2.6 MW of net-metering credits to apply to its utility bills. Ameresco says the credits from the projects will also allow nearly 200 residents and small businesses in the Blackstone Valley to lower their electricity costs and reduce carbon emissions.
“This project is a win-win for Blue Cross,” says Jay McQuaide, SVP of corporate communications and citizenship at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “The cost savings will help us advance our mission of making quality healthcare affordable, and the environmental benefits align perfectly with our commitment to supporting renewable energy and helping our members live healthier lives.”
“Community solar projects like these allow local citizens and businesses to benefit directly from the energy produced by these projects,” says Michael T. Bakas, senior vice president of Ameresco. “We are honored to support Blue Cross, a leader in providing high-quality healthcare, in their efforts to positively impact the environment. Their commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship is a model for all to follow.”
“BlueWave is proud to have worked with Ameresco in developing the Mendon and Hopedale community solar projects. This is yet another example of the successful partnership between our two companies,” says Eric Graber-Lopez, president of BlueWave Solar. “We are also grateful for our partnership with the Varney Family. As the owners of the land that these projects are built on, the Varney Family has enabled the development of local, clean energy on their Twin Elm Farm while continuing to maintain active local farming.”
While exploring ideas on how to generate income on their 650+ acre farm in Mendon, the Varney Family took into consideration how the Town of Mendon and local residents viewed the farm and its defining landscape, and a solar farm seemed to be the perfect fit.
The farm landowner, Elizabeth A. Varney, president/treasurer of Varney Properties, comments, “The solar farm allows us to generate income, maintain the beauty of our agricultural land for residents and helps the town increase their tax base, not to mention the positive impact it has on the environment.”
“The demand for solar has skyrocketed over the last several years,” notes Terry Sobolewski, senior vice president and chief consumer officer at National Grid. “As customers continue to demand faster, cheaper access to cleaner energy, collaborations like the one we’re celebrating today are imperative to offering innovative solutions.”