WESTFIELD – Mayor Daniel M. Knapik and Citizens Energy Chairman Joseph P. Kennedy II today threw a ceremonial switch marking the full operational capability of a 2.5-megawatt solar array at the city’s Twiss Street landfill.
The solar facility, built in partnership with the city by the Boston-based energy non-profit, sells the power to the Westfield Gas and Electric Light Department while providing the city with lease and tax payments, turning an unused municipal property into the generator of clean, green renewable energy.
“This solar initiative has been one that city staff has worked hard to bring over the finish line, and this project will provide a new source of revenue for operations and allow us to diversify our energy portfolio and build in some certainty as it relates to our energy costs going forward,” said Mayor Knapik, who was also joined at the ceremony by Sean Fitzgerald of the municipal utility.
“We’re proud to work with our Westfield partners to provide affordable carbon-free energy,” said Kennedy. “With this project and many others in our portfolio, we are committed to advancing the renewable energy revolution by working with partners like the City of Westfield to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Dan Howard, general manager of Westfield Gas and Electric Light Department added: “This is a good project for Westfield, Westfield Gas and Electric, Citizens Energy and the residents of Westfield. It will provide green energy and we get to distribute it at a reasonable cost.”
The City of Westfield will benefit from lease revenues, payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) and an operational savings to the Health Department and Transfer Station, as costs for maintaining the cap to the former landfill will become the responsibility of Citizens Energy.
“Working with Citizens Energy in the planning and construction process has been a pleasure as Citizens Energy has conducted themselves in an extremely professional manner,” Knapik said. “We look forward to working with them and their operational component, Twiss Street Solar, for many years to come.”