Public Invited to a Community Information Session on Solar in Amherst

solarpicAmherst residents are encouraged to attend an information session regarding a preliminary proposal for a solar program in Amherst on Wednesday, September 16th at 7 PM in the Amherst Regional Middle School auditorium.

Town Manager John Musante met with staff and renewable energy experts over the past several months to investigate potential sites throughout town. “We examined roof top solar as well as other sites and were advised that the Town’s best opportunity for solar exists at both the new and old landfill locations. We would like to work with the community to develop a project that will meet the needs of the Town and respect concerns of abutters.”

Several communities in Western Massachusetts have installed solar landfill projects or are in the process of doing so. Most recently, Northampton announced their plans to move forward with construction of a 3.3 megawatt solar array on the former Glendale Road landfill. “Given the overwhelming response to the Solarize MA program, Select Board’s interest in solar and Town Meeting support of a solar project we feel that it is time to move forward,” said Musante. “Our best opportunity to move Amherst in the direction of greater energy independence and greater environmental responsibility lies in solar.”

Community members are invited to bring both their questions and concerns to the meeting on September 16th. “It is our hope that we can have a meaningful and productive conversation about a potential project and would like to hear from community members as to how we can make this work,” stated Sustainability Coordinator, Stephanie Ciccarello. “The Town is in the preliminary stages of developing a project. Input from a series of community conversations will develop Amherst’s best solar opportunities.”

The community session scheduled for the 16th will be moderated by Ms. Ciccarello and include a presentation by Barrett LaChance of Sun Edison. The Town is working with both Sun Edison and Power Options, the state’s leading nonprofit energy buying consortium. Meg Lusardi, former Director of the Green Communities Division and acting Commissioner of the MA Department of Energy Resources currently serves as Power Options Executive Director and is an expert in assisting communities with their energy needs.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Ciccarello, Sustainability Coordinator, at ciccarellos@amherstma.gov or via telephone at (413) 259-3149.


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