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Congressman Frank, Secretary Sullivan Join New Bedford Mayor Lang to Launch Ambitious, City-Wide Solar Power Initiative

October 21, 2011

FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND, MULTI-SITE PROGRAM WILL DELIVER ENOUGH RENEWABLE ENERGY TO POWER APPROXIMATELY 1,500 HOMES

 

New Bedford, Massachusetts - Congressman Barney Frank and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. today joined City of New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang to launch a city-wide, multi-site solar power initiative that will use solar panels that are exclusively manufactured in the United States.  This will reduce the City's overall energy spending through a goal of installing up to 10 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, enough to power approximately 1,500 homes.

 

The program is the first of its kind in a Massachusetts municipality.

 

The City of New Bedford will install rooftop and ground-based photovoltaic units at city-owned sites using panels that are exclusively manufactured in the United States.  Locations will include municipal buildings, schools and selected municipal land parcels.  All installations are expected to be operational by 2013.

 

In addition to decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, production of solar energy is expected to equate to 25 percent of electricity consumed by city-owned facilities when all installations are completed.  City officials said total savings could reach as high as $10 million by the year 2033.    

 

Solar Panels“This creative solar program will help the people of New Bedford save money while they protect the planet," said Mayor Lang. “We will be adding value to our City’s facilities and underutilized space by using roofs and unused parcels of land to collect clean and renewable solar power.  Our ultimate aim is to further the development of renewable energy by building out this precedent-setting program to a full spectrum of private-sector energy consumers."

 

The City is undertaking the project in cooperation with two private-sector partners, Boston-based BlueWave Capital, LLC and Consolidated Edison Solutions, Inc. (ConEdison Solutions) of Valhalla, NY and Burlington, MA.  BlueWave Capital and ConEdison Solutions, along with their engineering, construction and community partners, were selected by the City to develop up to 10 megawatts of solar photovoltaic projects on city-owned properties. 

 

BlueWave will also partner with the City in a program aimed at bringing third-party-financed solar energy to New Bedford businesses and homeowners, and will also work with the City to maximize an array of added benefits delivered by solar power, including local job and apprenticeship opportunities, the re-use of brownfields and other surplus land, and educational programs in New Bedford schools.  To help boost area employment, Mayor Lang said that ConEdison Solutions has agreed to maximize its use of local construction contractors for the project.

 

“With the help of municipalities like New Bedford, we’re closer to meeting our nation-leading renewable energy goals, which create jobs, decrease energy consumption and lower energy costs,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr.  “The number of solar projects installed or in construction or under contract has increased 30-fold since 2007. We’ve gone from 3.5 megawatts of solar in 2007 to nearly 100 megawatts installed or the pipeline today.”  

 

ConEdison Solutions will own the solar installations on City sites and will enter into long-term power purchase agreements with the City.  ConEdison Solutions will also be responsible for installation, ongoing operations and maintenance -- and will provide for financing of the projects. 

 

Beaumont Solar Company of New Bedford is designing and constructing the fast-tracked roof-top projects to be completed in 2011.  They are providing similar services for other ground and roof projects within New Bedford that are to be operational in 2012.

 

Alteris Renewables, a Real Goods Solar Company, is designing and constructing the largest of the proposed New Bedford projects, an approximately 4 MW ground system on land owned by New Bedford in Freetown near the Quatticas Reservoir.  This facility will serve the Water Treatment Plant and is expected to be complete in 2012.

 

The solar initiative is the latest in a series of innovative programs designed to position New Bedford as a national leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy.  The City’s overarching energy program targets municipal, commercial, transportation, and port-related end-users.  The municipal component has set a goal of reducing energy use by 20 percent within the next five years.  The commercial element is helping to enable the City’s business sector to implement a systematic array of energy-saving techniques and strategies.  Under the transportation portion, five percent of New Bedford’s municipal vehicle fleet would switch from gasoline to hybrid/electric energy within five years.  And the port-related initiative aims to install 42 dockside, electric pedestals as charging stations at New Bedford Harbors Wharves, America’s number-one commercial fishing port.  

 

Another Consolidated Edison, Inc. company, Con Edison Development, one of the Northeast's leading developers of renewable and energy infrastructure assets, delivered the largest operating solar installation in New England to date on a site within the New Bedford Business Park, which straddles the towns of Dartmouth and New Bedford.  The ten-acre solar farm began generating electrical power in March.  Con Edison Development shares the same corporate parent as ConEdison Solutions.    

 

The City of New Bedford buys energy today through the SouthCoast Electric Buying Group, an aggregated buying group consisting of various entities and Towns along the South Coast of Massachusetts.  ConEdison Solutions is the current contracted supplier of energy to the buying group. Once the new solar program is complete, the City’s purchases of power through the buying group will be reduced by about 25 percent.

 

“We are off to the races on an exciting and path-breaking venture,” said John DeVillars, BlueWave Capital’s Managing Partner. ”This has been and will continue to be a team effort, and we are grateful for the chance to work with the City and an incredibly dedicated and talented team of engineering and financing professionals."

 

“The multi-site solar project in New Bedford is a fantastic program and we believe it will change the way towns and cities buy and use energy,” said Jorge Lopez, CEO of ConEdison Solutions. “We are proud to have been selected by the City to help them make energy history.  When it comes to embracing renewable energy, New Bedford stands as a model to other municipalities.”

 

New Bedford used $80,000 of the city's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funds to develop a municipal solar strategy. The city developed a procurement strategy for a vendor to supply solar-generated power from onsite generation sources.

 

The U.S. Department of Energy's EECBG Program, funded for the first time by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) of 2009, represents a national priority to deploy the cheapest, cleanest, and most reliable energy technologies we have -- energy efficiency and conservation -- across the country.

 

New Bedford is one of 44 communities in Massachusetts that received a total of $43 million to develop, promote, implement and manage local EECBG-funded projects.

 

About BlueWave Capital

 

BlueWave Capital, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is a renewable energy project developer focused on solar and wind energy development opportunities in New England and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More information is available on BlueWave’s web site – www.bluewave-capital.com. 

 

About ConEdison Solutions

 

ConEdison Solutions is a leading energy services company that provides competitive power supply, renewable energy, sustainability services, and cost-effective energy solutions for commercial, industrial, residential, and government customers. The company is based in Valhalla, New York, with offices in Burlington, Massachusetts; Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Falls Church, Virginia; Houston, Texas; Tampa, Florida; Durham, North Carolina; Overland Park, Kansas; and Chicago, Illinois. The firm’s dedicated team of energy professionals delivers a broad range of commodity, consulting, demand-side management and performance contracting services. ConEdison Solutions offers programs and services designed to help customers achieve their individual energy objectives and is accredited as an Energy Services Provider (ESP) by NAESCO.

 

ConEdison Solutions is a subsidiary and registered trademark of Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE: ED). More information can be obtained by calling 1-888-210-8899 or visiting the ConEdison Solutions website at www.conedsolutions.com.  You can also visit the Consolidated Edison, Inc. website at www.conedison.com for information on all of the Consolidated Edison companies.

 

Contacts:

Elizabeth M. Treadup                                     

City of New Bedford                                           

Office of the Mayor                                            

(508) 979-1410                                                  

etreadup@newbedford-ma.gov                            

 

Cara Gentile

The Marino Organization

For ConEdison Solutions

212-889-0808 x 125 (o), 914-715-6145 (c)

cara@themarino.org

 

 

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ConEdison Inc. Company