Municipal Solar at the RTS
- In April, 2016, the town of Needham celebrated the grand opening of the solar installation on the capped landfill at the Recycling and Transfer Station (RTS). Covering 12 acres, the 11,780 solar panels are expected to produce over 4 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year. With Needham receiving rental and property tax income from the system, as well as saving money on electricity costs, the project will save the town roughly $20 million over the next 20 years.
- Green Needham began investigating the possibility of solar at the RTS in 2009, when we organized a preliminary walk-through of the capped landfill and discovered the potential for a large PV array. After several years of conversations with town staff and officials, plus a presentation to the Board of Selection by Green Needham chairman Michael Greis, the Selectmen decided in 2012 to appoint a Solar Exploratory Committee to make recommendations. A positive recommendation from the Committee in a May 2013 report led to actions that resulted in completion of the project in less than 3 years.
Solarize Needham – accelerating installation of solar PV for Needham homeowners
- In 2014, responding to a proposal by Green Needham, the Town of Needham worked with several of our members to submit a successful application for the “Solarize Massachusetts” grant program, which is designed to promote solar electric (Photovoltaic, “PV”) installations on homes and small businesses in selected communities across the state. In partnership with the Town, Green Needham put together a Solarize Needham™ team, which chose Astrum Solar (now Direct Energy) as the town’s “One Trusted Installer.” The Solarize Needham Team organized a grassroots educational campaign to introduce the program, which offered a tiered pricing structure that increased the savings for everyone as more home and business owners in town signed up.
- As a result of the Solarize Needham initiative, over 130 new residential PV systems were installed in 2014 and early 2015.
Needham Community Solar Challenge
In 2008 Green Needham partnered with the Needham League of Women Voters to solicit community members to donate to the New England Wind Fund. This successful project earned Needham a 2kW solar array that was installed at the new High Rock School and accumulated, through donations to the New England Wind Fund, over $21,000 in community matching funds toward alternative energy and education projects. The Big Belly solar trash compactors around town were purchased with these funds.