Here are the Community Solar nominees for the 2023 Solar Builder Project of the Year Awards.
The form is at the bottom of the page. You are allowed to vote once per day from now until Saturday, Oct. 7 at midnight (EDT). (FYI: Our voting widget will let you vote more than once a day, but we filter these out in the back-end. Sorry, ballot stuffers). Winners will be announced and prominently featured in the Q4 issue of Solar Builder magazine and online in December.
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Former Air Force Base Brownfield
St. Albans, Vermont | 500 kW
Despite a host of logistical and contaminated property challenges, Green Lantern Solar was able to complete the construction of a community solar project on a complicated brownfield project located on a former U.S. Air Force Base in St. Albans, Vermont. Initially set to begin construction in March of 2021, the project experienced a series of challenges related to pandemic-related delays, supply chain and policy uncertainties surrounding the Auxin tariff investigation. Delays ultimately caused the CPG commissioning date to be extended by two years, and Green Lantern Solar took on constructing the system in time to meet the new deadline. This meant working through the harsh Vermont winter. Development of the BCAF project was further complicated by the presence of the military-related brownfield and its contaminants, which required the implementation of a DEC-approved soil management plan. In addition, the project site, located on top of a hill overlooking St. Albans, was composed mainly of ledge, requiring many of the racking posts and fence components to be drilled through rock.
Farney Community Solar Optimization
Lowville, New York | 4.6 MW
Without the design & engineering expertise to optimize solar projects previously labeled too expensive to be built, the energy transition cannot rapidly advance in order to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. The Farney project is part of a larger portfolio of six community solar projects in New York totaling 38 MW that were previously deemed too expensive to be built. Castillo Engineering was able to optimize the projects — such as noting excesses in equipment — to save the developer $1.2 million in total. The firm was also able to meet the strict deadlines and requirements of one of the most stringent U.S. utilities to allow this portfolio of projects to be completed on time. The Farney project and two of the other projects in this portfolio alone will increase one New York county’s solar capacity by nearly 50%. In total, the six projects in this portfolio will generate enough clean energy to power 8,700 homes per year.
Hampden, Maine | 6.77 MW
When an abandoned gravel pit in Hampden, Maine, was converted into a solar farm, there was a lot of work required to get the site PV-ready. The 25-acre site contained huge piles of rocks, mountains of soil, sheer cliffs, extensive weeds and shrubbery up to two and a half feet tall. ReVision Energy cleared roughly three acres of land and graded most of the site. Adding to its manpower, ReVision deployed multiple excavators, bulldozers and even a forestry mulcher on the entire site to grind up the copious stumps, roots, and sticks before breaking down any remaining organic material with a harley rake. To ensure cost competitiveness, the Terrasmart and ReVision teams worked together to execute commodity purchases that secured the optimal pricing and substantial cost savings. Terrasmart added manpower during the racking installation to expedite the process, completing the work in just six weeks instead of the three months typically allocated for a project of this size — 80% faster than industry average. Communities benefiting from this project include: College of the Atlantic, the Deer Isle/Stonington School District, the Town of Blue Hill, and the Bangor Water District.
Monroe, New Jersey | 5 MWdc
Solar Landscape partnered with global real estate investment management firm Heitman to dedicate its nearly 1 million-square-foot warehouse in Monroe, New Jersey, to a rooftop community solar project. This 5 MW project is the largest completed community solar project in the state. Residents are educated about the project through local partnerships with organizations like Housing & Community Development Network of New Jersey (HCDNNJ), the National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials (NJNAHRO), Triple C Housing, Jewish Community Center of Middlesex County, Trinity Episcopal, NAACP Metuchen-Edison Branch, Agraj Seva Kendra, and the Monroe Township Environmental Commission. In addition to providing access to affordable clean energy for historically overlooked communities, it also supports Solar Landscape’s Solar Training and Education Partnership for Underserved Populations (STEP-UP) workforce development program. The project approval played a vital role in the execution of STEP-UP, with five program graduates directly involved in the project installation as employees of Solar Landscape.
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