Warwick mayor Joseph Solomon, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM) director Janet Coit, Office of Energy Resources (RI OER) commissioner Carol Grant, local elected officials and business leaders joined Southern Sky Renewable Energy RI to cut the ribbon on a 6.3-MW solar array on the airport connector. The 37-acre brownfield site will host almost 16,000 panels producing enough clean energy to power the City of Warwick’s municipal buildings and other city locations.
The site was previously home to Leviton Manufacturing Company, an international manufacturer of electrical components. Following their departure, the site was vacant for over 20 years, despite its convenient location near T.F. Green Airport. Southern Sky worked closely with RI DEM to create a “remedial action work plan” for the safe construction and development of the brownfield.
“This new solar array completes the transformation of a brownfield site into a productive piece of land for Warwick and its taxpayers,” Solomon said. “This is yet another example of the innovative things that are happening to make Warwick City Centre a success. The city is pleased to have an excellent partner like Southern Sky on this project and another site that just finished construction on West Shore Road.”
“We were excited to turn this brownfield into a useful, energy-saving, revenue producing property for the City of Warwick,” said Ralph A. Palumbo, president of Southern Sky Renewable Energy RI. “Brownfield sites are challenging, but our collaboration with RI DEM and OER helped this project stay on budget and schedule. Our site on the airport connector is a powerful statement to visitors—the city and state are committed to renewable energy.”
Southern Sky was also joined by senate majority leader Michael McCaffrey, senator Erin Lynch Prata and city councilor Stephen McCallister. The solar array is expected to produce enough energy to power all municipal buildings and other city locations. The renewable energy produced by the array will yield environmental benefits, offsetting the emissions equal to burning 6 million pounds of coal annually, or taking 1,300 cars off the road. The City will receive property taxes over the 25-year life of the project. In addition, the project also received a $350,000 grant through CommerceRI’s Renewable Energy Fund.
“The Raimondo administration is pleased to be a part of transforming a 37-acre former industrial site into a solar array providing clean energy that benefits all Rhode Islanders, because for every acre of contaminated land we return to beneficial reuse, it is estimated to conserve 4.5 acres of undeveloped green space,” Coit said. “This project continues Rhode Island’s efforts to build our green economy, create jobs, lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and increase resilience.”
“Rhode Island continues to be a national leader recognized for our clean energy and our clean energy jobs,” said RI OER commissioner Carol Grant. “By working together across agencies and assisting local municipalities, we are moving one step closer to meeting governor Raimondo’s goal of bringing 1,000 MW of clean energy online for Rhode Island customers.”
Southern Sky contracted with Conti Solar to design and construct the facility and the project received a capital investment from Captona Partners, a New York-based investment company specializing in power generation and energy infrastructure assets.
“Captona is glad to continue the expansion of its ‘green’ footprint in Rhode Island. This asset is one of three that Captona has invested in with the City of Warwick. We look forward to the growth of our portfolio of power projects in Rhode Island in the immediate future,” said Izzet Bensusan, founder and managing partner of Captona Partners.
News item from Southern Sky Renewable Energy RI