New Solar Farm Activated at Former Westfield Landfill

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – With the ceremonial flipping of a switch, western Massachusetts’ newest solar farm was brought into full operation Thursday morning. Former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II joined Westfield Mayor Daniel Knapik for the ceremony at the new 2.5 megawatt solar array, located at the former Twiss Street landfill.

The new solar array was built in partnership with Kennedy’s Citizens Energy group, a nonprofit which is perhaps best known for providing heating assistance to needy families. The power from the facility is being sold to Westfield Gas & Electric for its thousands of customers in the city.

Knapik praised the solar array, saying that in addition to the clean energy benefits, it will provide the city with lease revenues and payments in lieu of taxes. Citizens Energy will now be responsible for maintaining a cap on the former landfill.

Citizen Energy Corp. Partners with Westfield in Twiss Street Solar Operation

WESTFIELD – “This is the future for energy in our country,” Joseph P. Kennedy II said Thursday as he and Mayor Daniel M. Knapik threw a ceremonial switch marking full operation of the $3 million Twiss Street Solar LLC at the city’s former landfill.

“This is a great community and Citizen Energy Corp. is delighted to be part of the partnership with Westfield and Westfield Gas and Electric,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy praised Knapik for leading the city to “embrace alternative energy. This site is a perfect location for a solar operation because as a former landfill nothing can be built here.

“Solar will solve our country’s energy problems for the future,” the Citizen chairman said.

Knapik said “This solar initiative has been one our city staff has worked hard to bring over the finish line. This project provides a new source of revenue for operations and allows us to diversify our energy portfolio and build some certainty as it relates to our energy costs going forward.

“Thank you Joe Kennedy and Citizen Energy for investing in our city,” Knapik said.

Twiss Street Solar has actually be in full operation since Jan. 21, Knapik noted and has generated some 739 megawatts of electricity. It has saved an estimated 57,000 of gasoline and about 40,000 gallons of fuel oil.

“This is a great project,” the mayor said.

Westfield Gas and Electric Department customer service manager Sean Fitzgerald called the project a “great partnership and a home run for the city.”

The operation sells electricity to the municipal utility and pays the city about $85,000 annually in property taxes and fees. The 20-year lease of the former landfill brings Westfield some $7,500 in annual taxes and another $75,000 each year in lease payments.

Citizen Energy operates 10 similar solar farms in Massachusetts including locations in Agawam, Chicopee and Holyoke. It also operates 10 facilities in Georgia, according to Emma Kosciak, manager of solar development for Citizens.