Time is not on the side of solar power developers as the December 31 deadline on federal renewable energy incentive program nears. The program covers 30 percent of development costs, which made solar projects attractive to investors.
The solar developers are looking at land in Carver owned by cranberry growers to install their solar power systems. Jack Hunter, Carver’s planning director, said that recent developments could make the town the solar capital of New England.
At present, the cranberry industry is not doing well. The growers were selling their land to real estate developers but the housing sector is not that good either. It is a good thing that solar players are looking for land for their projects.
There are four solar projects in Carver. State officials said that the tax incentive program encouraged developers to start new solar projects before the year ends. If the projects are 5 percent complete at the deadline, the tax incentive would be converted into a grant.
Carver officials met with Waterline Industries last Tuesday to discuss a solar energy installation that would be erected at a stretch along the state highway. Once the project is completed, it would be the second solar power system that was constructed along a divided highway in the country. Massachusetts’ Department of Transportation has already given its approval for the said solar project that would produce power for Carver’s water treatment plant.
The Route 44 solar power installation will consist of solar panels that would be interconnected so that the energy would be sent to a unit converter and fed into the main power grid. The power generated will be sold back to the town at a lower rate.
Carver has been looking for a solar developer to start a project in the town for several years now. The state gave the town $150,000 grant from the federal stimulus funds as support for the project. The money would be used to help with the construction costs.
Aside from the route 44 project, the town is looking for other developers to invest in it. It proposed a site to Entero Energy to install a 750 kilowatt solar plant that would serve the town’s elementary school. The town would hire an independent consultant to review the deal.
Another property has proposed a 3.1 megawatt solar installation to MainLine Solar, which is attracted to states that promote investments in renewable energy sources. The company is looking for land in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.