MMWEC to build 30-acre solar project in Ludlow

MMWEC, which represents and provides power for municipal utilities around the state, will build a 7-megawatt, $14.5 million solar array on 30 acres at its campus at the end of Moody Street. The project will generate 13,400 megawatt hours a year — or enough power for 1,500 average homes, the utility said. Megawatt hours are a measure of power generation over time.

MMWEC, or the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co., plans to use a local financial institution to issue tax-exempt revenue bonds to finance the project, according to a news release.

The solar array will cover 30 acres of the 200-acre property. It’s an area described as well-suited for solar.

The project fits in with the state’s decarbonization goals. It also allows for municipal utilities that may not have ideal locations for solar projects to add more solar to their power portfolios, MMWEC said.

MMWEC said it is working on a contract with EDF Renewables Distributed Solutions, Inc., as the project developer. MMWEC said it intends to e use local subcontractors in the project.

Construction is scheduled to start this summer, and the project is expected to come online by late 2021.

Municipal utilities located in Boylston, Ipswich, Mansfield, Marblehead, Peabody and Wakefield are participating in the project.

Utility CEO Ronald C. DeCurzio said in a prepared statement that he’s excited to offer this project to MMWEC Members.

“The site selected on MMWEC’s campus represents an ideal location for this type of project,” DeCurzio said. “We are happy to be able to provide this opportunity to our Members looking to increase their ownership of carbon-free and renewable generation. This is yet another example of the ways MMWEC and its Members use their joint action agency capabilities of vertical integration and project ownership to lead the way in incorporating new carbon-free resources, dating back to the 1980s.”

MMWEC already has a conventional power plant on the site as well as a small solar array. MMWEC and 16 of its member utilities own Berkshire Wind Power Project, a 12-turbine, 19.6-megawatt wind farm in Hancock.