Daytime view of a father holding his young doughter as she points to the sun rising behind trees at the edge of a rolling field

Candlewood Solar Project: Green, Clean, Sustainable

The Candlewood Solar project was developed in response to the Tri-State Clean Energy RFP issued by the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island in October 2015. The RFP was a cooperative effort of all three states and the investor-owned utilities within them to procure clean energy for input into the NE-ISO grid, thereby decreasing dependence on non-renewable sources of electric power within the region.

In October of 2016, Ameresco was one of six bidders selected by the RFP selection committee to move ahead with negotiation of a 20-year power purchase agreement (“PPA”). PPA negotiations have completed and the PPA has been executed between Ameresco and the participating utilities – Eversource Energy, National Grid, and Unitil. Community outreach, coordination with local government officials and departments, and associated development activities including interconnection studies have proceeded in parallel with PPA negotiations.

The Candlewood Solar project is located less than one mile from the rocky river substation, which is a PTF node on the NE-ISO grid system. The facility will interconnect at the Rocky River substation on Route 7 in New Milford.

The overall project schedule calls for completion of development and permitting by Fall of 2017, and construction from late Fall 2017 through Spring of 2018, with anticipated commencement of operations in mid-2018. The facility will provide up to 20 MW of AC power directly to the grid via an interconnection at the Rocky River substation on Route 7 in New Milford, CT. The project is located on Candlewood Mountain on a combination of open field and wooded areas.

Candlewood Solar Project Benefits

JOBS: System installation creates more than 100 jobs, local labor hired for civil, site and electrical work

TAX REVENUE: PILOT agreement will result in $2.7 million in tax revenue for New Milford, a 500% increase for the parcel. The system does not require town services.

EDUCATION: Ameresco will work with the Town and New Milford schools to offer grade-specific solar PV educational modules for classroom use. Ameresco will also provide a kiosk with an LED screen showing real-time system production, installed either at Town Hall or the high school.

ENVIRONMENT: Annual energy generation of 34,000 MWh

  • Enough to power 2,400 homes each year
  • Carbon dioxide emissions reduction equal to the consumption of more than 2,500,000 gallons of gasoline or the intake of nearly 22,000 acres of forest in one year*

*Source: EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator

Featured Case Studies

View of Minneapolis from solar panel farm at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

In developing a 3MW solar farm situated on top of two parking garages, Ameresco worked with airport officials and the FAA to ensure that glare would never be an issue for pilots.

Aerial view of solar farms built on landfill sites in Lowell, Massachusetts

City of Lowell

Ameresco has developed a ballast system with zero ground disturbance, allowing for solar farm installation in environmentally sensitive areas and brownfield sites, such as Lowell’s 1.5 MW facility installed on a capped landfill.

Daytime view of solar panels installed on the roof of a school in Braintree, Massachusetts

Town of Braintree

Taking action to slow climate change, the Town of Braintree turned sensitive brownfield areas into a source of energy that eliminates nearly 1,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Solar Farm Facts

  • Solar farms generate electricity directly from sunlight and feed it to the grid, typically under a Power Purchase Agreement.
  • Solar panels can be mounted on racks supported by steel posts driven or screwed into the ground, to a depth of 4 to 6 feet.
  • Panels are tilted to face south and typically are no more than 8 to 10 feet off the ground.
  • Solar panels are designed to absorb light, not to reflect it. The provide no more glare than pavement or water.
  • Solar panels are silent. Inverters and transformers can make a hum during the day but are not audible outside the solar array area and are silent at night.
  • Solar panels do not contain hazardous materials. Solar arrays do not contaminate nearby groundwater.
  • Solar farms generate zero emissions.
  • Solar farms are considered permeable to rainwater, and the ground around them remains natural grasses. Ameresco does not use pesticides or herbicides at its solar farms.
  • Solar farms preserve land from more intensive permanent development.
  • Solar farms are removed at the end of their useful life, allowing land to revert to previous use.

Additional Media

Close up view of a solar power panel

Solar proposal for Candlewood Mountain goes to Connecticut Siting Council

CBS Boston: Solar Energy Farms Cutting Mass. Communities’ Energy Costs