Once completed the renewable project will be the largest solar farm in Rhode Island
North Smithfield, RI – Earlier this month the North Smithfield Town Planning Commission granted final approval on Green development’s application to construct a 48.5 MW solar farm on multiple parcels of land north of Iron Mine Hill Road and east of the Providence Pike. The vote by the planning commission concluded a permitting and regulatory path that began in 2018. Once completed, the renewable project will be the largest operating solar farm in Rhode Island and one of the largest in New England. Green already operates the largest onshore wind farm in Rhode Island with their 21MW seven-turbine facility located in Johnston.
“We are very pleased that we were able to work with North Smithfield to get this project off of the ground. It will truly benefit the town through financial incentives, put people to work and help Rhode Island meet its renewable energy goals and improve the environment,” said Mark DePasquale, CEO of Green Development. “The Town of North Smithfield has been a true partner in facilitating this project and we appreciate all of the work they have accomplished to get this project to the finish line. In the end, the site will be transformed into a facility producing clean renewable energy.”
North Smithfield will collect $268,800 in yearly tax payments through a low-impact use that will not require additional town fire, police or school services. The project will consist of approximately 122,000 solar panels totaling 48.5 MW over 160 acres. The project will produce 64,412,000 kWh of electricity per year. Site preparation began last year. Construction will begin soon and is expected to last through the fall of 2021. The solar farm is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2021.
The combined solar arrays will significantly improve the financial outlook for the town, providing $7,000 per MW in tax payments, which is 40% greater than required by state law and above the $6,000 per MW originally offered. At the approved project size the enhanced tax payment to the town will result in a total payment of $5,376,000 over the 20-year agreement. In addition, the Town will receive, at its option, either a one-time payment of $287,500 or construction services to improve the concession stand and restroom facilities at the Paul Joyce Athletic Fields based on the Town’s renovation plans up to $287,500 at the developer’s cost.
The project provides major environmental benefits, as well. Green has a long-term wildlife management plan in place, which will result in the entire 160-acre solar project being cultivated as a robust pollinator habitat. The project will be a case study in solar meadow cultivation. RIDEM has been apprised of the initiative and has been invited to participate in the research. Additionally, the energy produced from the project will provide enough electricity to power over 7,700 homes for one year. It would require 50,180,882 pounds of coal to produce the same amount of electricity every year or 646,052,360 cubic feet of natural gas. By making electricity from solar energy instead of coal or natural gas, the project will prevent up to 45,542 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being dumped into the atmosphere each year.
The energy produced from the project will be sent directly to National Grid to help the state meet its clean energy goals.
About Green Development
Green Development LLC is the leading developer of large-scale renewable energy solutions across Rhode Island, working with communities, public entities, non-profits, landowners, and farmers to plan and construct wind turbines and solar energy systems. To learn more, please visit www.green-ri.com and follow us on Facebook @GreenDevLLC.
Media contact: Bill Fischer 401-862-4652