...Nautilus Solar Energy, ISM Solar open Rhode Island community solar array | Solar Builder
 

Nautilus Solar Energy, ISM Solar open Rhode Island community solar array

a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of a community solar project sited on a former landfill.

Nautilus Solar Energy and ISM Solar Development opened a 3.43 MW community solar array yesterday on a remediated EPA superfund site. In Cranston, Rhode Island, the project represents the transformation of a former environmental liability into an environmental asset, supplying clean energy to all 509 Rhode Island households on National Grid’s territory.  

“Today, we are celebrating the transformation of a brownfield into a clean, renewable energy source, while making the benefits of solar power available to more Rhode Islanders,” said Governor Dan McKee at a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday alongside Speaker of the House Joe Shekarchi, State Representative Brandon Potter, Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor, and community partners. “The state’s community solar program allows National Grid customers, who want to reduce carbon emissions but who cannot install solar panels on their own homes, to subscribe to a local solar project and receive a discount on their electric bills. This locally constructed community solar project provides environmental and economic benefits and is a win-win for the State of Rhode Island and its constituents and I congratulate ISM Solar, Watershed Geo and Nautilus Solar.”

Nautilus serves as the owner-operator responsible for the project management, long-term asset management, and maintenance services for the projects. The project was developed by ISM Solar.

“This community solar project represents the importance of partnership between industry, the State of Rhode Island, and the local community. It’s exciting to continue the great work with ISM Solar, and we are proud to be the energy partner of choice in Rhode Island,” said Eric Paul, Executive Director of Origination at Nautilus Solar. “Together with our other community solar projects in the State, we are able to provide equitable, affordable access to clean, solar electricity to over 2,500 Rhode Islanders,” added Eric LaMora, Community Solar Director.

Installing community solar projects on capped landfills has proven to be an effective way of converting typically unused space into a renewable energy source. The project is uniquely built on ClosureTurf, a patented brownfield closure system designed to withstand supporting 9,000 solar panels attached to a racking system and held down by over 60,000 ballast blocks to protect the landfill cap. Engineered by Watershed Geosynthetics, an environmental solutions company, this innovative material is specifically designed to address and solve soil erosion, slope integrity, gas emission, installation and maintenance cost control, EPA regulation compliance, and longevity of structure and appearance.  

“We are honored to be a part of this innovative and industry-changing project. Seeing our closure and solar integration technologies become a reality and play a role in turning a liability into a green energy asset for the community is very exciting.” said Mike Ayers, CEO of Watershed Geo. “Our technologies coupled with ISM Solar’s development capabilities is a great partnership and an example of execution in creating beneficial reuse of land on a typically unusable space. As more significance is placed on environmental values and goals, these types of projects will become critical to communities at large.”

The developers partner closely with communities to produce local tax revenue, bring new job opportunities, and deliver energy savings to Rhode Islanders. As a result of the Cranston community solar project, over 7,000 hours and 124 worker days of construction jobs have been created, alongside 20-25 full-time positions supporting ongoing electrical and vegetation management crews. 

As an added benefit, community solar represents the democratization of solar energy. Through Nautilus’ community solar projects, 3,830 acres of US forests and 680 cars will be replaced with the environmental equivalent of 3,830 acres of US forests.    

“It has been a pleasure working with the City of Cranston, National Grid, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Office of Energy Resources, and the Capuano Family (landowner) to create this important green energy resource,” said Greg Lucini, CEO of ISM Solar. “In addition, this project was awarded a Rhode Island Commerce Renewable Energy Fund (REF) Brownfield Grant which helped provide necessary development capital.”     

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Have you checked out our YouTube page?

We have a ton video interviews and additional content on our YouTube page. Recently we debuted Power Forward! -- a collaboration with BayWa r.e. to discuss higher level industry topics as well as best practices / trends for running a solar business today.

Our longer running side project is The Pitch -- in which we have awkward discussions with solar manufacturers and suppliers about their new technology and ideas so that you don't have to. We've discusses everything from residential rail-less deck attaching and home solar financing to large-scale energy storage value stacking and utility-driven new home solar + storage microgrids.

We also post our Project of the Year announcements there! Interviews with this year's winners will be up starting the week of Nov. 8. Head there and subscribe today to stay on top of all this extra stuff.

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