Cape and Vineyard Electric Co-op awards solar project contract


The Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative (CVEC) has announced the award of its solar photovoltaic (PV) project to American Capital Energy (ACE).

Edgartown and Tisbury are two of seven CVEC member towns on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod where the project’s solar PV systems will be installed at as many as 10 sites.

CVEC conducted a competitive bid process last fall and selected ACE from eight vendor bids submitted. The successful bidder was announced at a meeting in Barnstable Thursday morning, April 21, and in a press release. The North Chelmsford based company specializes in large complex roof- and ground-mounted systems and has installed more than 35 large-scale PV projects in 9 states.

The 18.3 mega-watt PV project is expected to produce enough energy to power 3,132 Vineyard and Cape homes. The energy produced from the project represents 26 percent of the Vineyard and Cape municipal load and 1.1 percent of the total energy load for all customers on the Vineyard and Cape, the CVEC press release said. Under the CVEC contract, at the time of construction ACE will be building the largest solar PV facility in New England.

As part of the contract negotiations, ACE committed to advertise locally for installation and/or maintenance subcontractors to install the solar PV systems. ACE estimates that nearly 500 full-time workers would be employed during the development and construction of the ten solar PV arrays.

Edgartown could make use of three town-owned sites for its solar projects: a parcel off Mattakesset Way now farmed under an agreement with the town by The FARM Institute, a parcel off Pennywise Path behind the Morgan Woods housing development, and a parcel between Edgewood Drive and Briarwood Drive near a town well.

Although some community opposition arose to using the farmed parcel, a motion to exempt agricultural land from solar power development was soundly defeated by Edgartown voters at the December 14, 2010, special town meeting.

Tisbury hopes to locate its solar array on the town’s capped landfill near the Park and Ride lot off State Road. Voters at the April 12 special town meeting paved the way for the project by approving a provision in town bylaws to regulate solar PV installations and an expedited permitting process for renewable energy facilities and projects.

CVEC works in concert with Cape Light Compact, which serves 200,000 energy consumers in all 21 Cape and Island towns. The cooperative was formed in 2007 to help member towns create new sustainable energy sources, enable them to own electricity-producing systems, and sell the energy. The towns of Brewster, Barnstable, Chatham, Eastham, Edgartown, Harwich and Tisbury are currently members.