Stoneham, Winchester, Natick advance state’s climate and clean energy goals
SAN FRANCISCO – Clearway Energy Group (“Clearway”) and Clearway Community Solar announced today that the Massachusetts towns of Stoneham, Winchester, and Natick have subscribed 11.4 megawatts (MW) of new community solar projects, all paired with energy storage, helping fulfill the state’s renewable energy goals, reduce local dependence on fossil fuels, and advance the regional clean energy economy.
“Community solar is one of the fastest-growing sources of renewable energy in Massachusetts and we’re thrilled to work with a growing number of municipalities to tap into this exciting market,” said Valerie Wooley, Vice President of Origination at Clearway Energy Group. “Community solar offers everyone from towns and municipalities to businesses and individual households the choice to access local, affordable, and clean energy without the cost or complexities of installing equipment on their own properties. We are excited to welcome Stoneham, Winchester, and Natick as our newest partners and are grateful to Massachusetts policymakers for their ongoing support of the state’s clean energy economy.”
By subscribing to community solar, the towns of Stoneham, Winchester, and Natick will help the Commonwealth achieve its Renewable Portfolio Standard of 35% by 2030, as well as the state’s target of 1,000 MWh of energy storage by the end of 2025. Together, the three towns’ subscriptions will generate enough renewable energy each year to offset carbon emissions from burning 12 million pounds of coal. Community solar subscriptions also advance the clean energy workforce and economic impact, driving millions of dollars of investment in the state.
“The Town of Winchester has a strong track record of supporting renewable energy, saving energy and reducing energy costs,” said Michael Bettencourt, Select Board Chair, Town of Winchester. “Our participation in community solar is an exciting further step towards clean energy for municipal use and cost savings for our tax payers. Winchester’s partnership with Clearway in this solar project is another key move, along with WinPower, our residential power aggregation. This milestone shows again Winchester’s support for additional local renewable energy – reducing carbon in our power supply while creating jobs and supporting economic growth in Massachusetts.”
“The Town of Stoneham is proud to continue and help fulfill the state’s renewable energy goals by subscribing to community solar,” said Raymie Parker, Chair of the Stoneham Select Board. “Through this program, we are able to support renewable power and reduce local reliance on fossil fuels while benefiting from lower costs and energy savings for residents. Our community is honored to be a municipal leader in this emerging market. Working together collaboratively made this an easy process.”
“The Town of Natick is committed to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and increasing the region’s clean energy supply is critical to achieving our goal,” said Jillian Wilson Martin, Natick Sustainability Coordinator. “We are excited to partner with Clearway to support the development of community solar, while also reducing the cost of electricity for municipal operations. It is a win-win for Natick taxpayers, Massachusetts residents and the climate, and we look forward to realizing the program’s benefits.”
The towns are among the first customers to subscribe to Clearway’s Cranberry Lane portfolio of community solar farms, which include eight projects delivering 56 MW of renewable energy and a robust investment of over $120 million in Massachusetts’ electricity infrastructure.
Municipalities, businesses, and residents are able to participate in local solar plus storage projects as part of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ SMART (Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target) program. The Baker administration and DOER recently doubled the size of the SMART Program to 3,200 MW in response to strong interest from Massachusetts residents and businesses.
Clearway is the largest community solar provider in the U.S. and in Massachusetts, where it owns more than 80 operating and development projects across 32 towns. Today’s news comes on the heels of Clearway’s recent announcement that it closed financing on its latest community solar fund of over $180 million, which will enable the construction of new community solar projects in Massachusetts, New York, and Illinois. Clearway also announced the commissioning of Clearway’s first community solar plus energy storage projects in Massachusetts earlier this year, boosting grid reliability and climate resiliency in the Commonwealth and providing subscribers with the additional benefit of low-cost power when demand is highest.
Clearway Community Solar is unique in that it is a fully integrated business that manages project development, customer subscriptions, and customer management all within the company. As a result, Clearway has become the market leader in community solar with approximately 200 MW of projects nationwide serving more than 15,000 customers.
Residents, businesses, and municipalities can support local solar generation in Massachusetts by subscribing to a Clearway Community Solar farm with no upfront costs and without installing equipment on their property. Participants receive solar bill credits that offset their utility bill, with overall guaranteed savings.
Clearway is actively accepting new residential and municipal subscribers. Residents can learn more at clearwaycommunitysolar.com and municipalities and towns can learn more at clearwayenergygroup.com.