Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) awarded Greenskies this project as part of its highly competitive 2017 clean energy procurement process. DEEP periodically conducts zero-carbon energy procurements on behalf of the utilities at the direction of the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA). These support State mandates to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and advance grid reliability and affordability.
Eversource and United Illuminating (UI) are Connecticut's two investor-owned electric utilities. Eversource is the largest, serving over 1.2 million residential, municipal, commercial, and industrial customers in approximately 149 cities and towns across the State. UI serves over 340,000 in the greater New Haven and Bridgeport, CT area.
"Greenskies is pleased to contribute to a zero-carbon future for Connecticut. DEEP procurements are a critical pathway to make clean energy more accessible and affordable. Large-scale solar energy deployments like this have many benefits, from the environment to public health and providing consumers more stable, reliable energy." – Stanley Chin, Greenskies, President and CEO
As part of the procurement process, Eversource and UI signed a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Greenskies. Under the agreement, Greenskies designed, constructed, and financed an 18.68 megawatt solar farm and will own, operate, and maintain it for the term. Eversource and UI will purchase all the electricity the project generates under the 20-year PPA.
Greenskies also originated a long-term lease agreement with a landowner within Eversource's service territory in Waterford, Connecticut. The landowner will receive ongoing revenue for hosting the solar system.
The Waterford project consists of approximately 44,000 bifacial solar modules situated on 94 acres of underutilized land previously logged under a forestry operation. The site posed a wide variety of challenges, from rough terrain with sub-surface rock to local environmental and regulatory sensitivities.
Greenskies' seasoned developers worked with state and local regulators, including the Connecticut Siting Council and DEEP Stormwater Management, to create long-term land and environmental management plans to mitigate any adverse impacts. The EPC team overcame the challenging site conditions with thoughtful design, engineering, and execution.
Greenskies' comprehensive in-house capabilities overcame various challenges to achieve not only an aesthetically beautiful array that flows with topography but also a beneficial addition to local infrastructure.
Neal Williams, an Engineer with intimate knowledge of the project had this to say:
“This was a challenging build given the site’s topography coupled with multiple heavy rain events during construction, but I can say after inspecting the site that the completed project looks fantastic! From Steve Kochis’(VHB Engineering) engineering plans right up to the post-construction site visit, everyone brought their A-game to this project. A lot was riding on this one, and Greenskies really hit it out of the park. Great work."
As a testament to Greenskies' comprehensive work, the Waterford solar farm successfully weathered the 500-year rain event caused by Hurricane Ida in September 2021.
The Waterford solar system produces enough low-cost, locally generated renewable energy to power more than 3,700 homes. It also supports Eversource and UI's efforts to keep energy costs economical for its customers while furthering Connecticut's ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction goals.
Waterford commenced commercial operation in April 2023.
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North American Clean Energy | Greenskies Waterford Solar Farm featured on North American Clean Energy Sep./Oct. 2023 Cover
North American Clean Energy (NACE) featured Waterford
on the cover of their September/October 2023 issue.