NORTH ADAMS — The city has seen the light: Its 3.5-megawatt solar array is producing enough energy to meet all its municipal electricity needs.
In North Adams, that has not come as a surprise to anyone who helped plan the array. But the fact that the 6,000-panel installation — it was built in 2015 and covers 14 acres on a capped landfill — consistently is producing beyond original projections has forced city officials to make a few adjustments.
After covering its own electric bills, the city is sitting on unused net-metering credits valued at about $200,000 that it hopes to unload on other municipalities, according to City Administrative Officer Michael Canales.
"It's a good problem to have in that we can sell [excess credits] back into the market. ... It is just a procedural challenge to work through," said Mayor Thomas Bernard.
At current electricity rates, the landfill array results in the city saving about 25 percent on its annual electric bill, which is now budgeted at about $380,000 annually. The credits cover everything from streetlights to the city's skating rink.
The savings are courtesy of the net-metering process that allows a solar installation like the city's to feed the energy it produces into the grid and receive credits in return. (read more)
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