Massachusetts lands first community solar+storage project

Amid all the controversy surrounding changes to its system of compensating homeowners for their excess solar electricity, Massachusetts will soon have its first community solar+storage project – and it has the town of Sterling to thank.

Sterling has long been a leader in solar adoption, having so much solar that it was close to hitting its self-imposed cap on commercial solar, and decided to take a further step into battery storage.

The town reached an agreement with Origis Energy USA to build and own the Sterling Community Solar+Energy Storage project under a power-purchase agreement (PPA) with the town’s municipal utility. It combines a 1 MW-AC rooftop solar installation with a 1 MW/2 megawatt-hour (MWh) energy storage system.

“We are approaching the Light self-imposed cap on commercial solar capacity, but introduction of a grid-scale battery system greatly reduces any concerns along those lines,” said Matt Stelmach, chairman of the Sterling Municipal Light Department’s (SMLD) Board of Commissioners. “This project is a great match for Sterling and will greatly benefit its ratepayers.”

Origis started construction on the project last month and will be commissioned by the end of March. It will be comprised of 4,000 modules and a lithium-ion battery system.

Subscriptions will follow guidelines set out by  the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and applications for subscriptions will be available soon.