First U.S. solar websites constructed over cranberry bogs to be developed by finish of 2021
Not the actual moor.
Pine Gate Renewables has completed funding for two new dual-use solar projects that will bring 9MW of solar power and storage to the Carver, Massachusetts community while preserving the soil for cranberry farming. These are Pine Gate’s first projects in the state of Massachusetts and complement the company’s existing portfolio of more than 700 MW operated solar sites.
Pine Gate works with local cranberry farmers to tend the land and manage the harvesting process. The Solar Carver projects will provide temporary construction jobs to hundreds of workers during the expansion and will keep the local cranberry farms active. In addition, the storage component provides the necessary backup performance for both projects in order to maintain the integrity of the network for the Commonwealth.
“We are excited to continue to play a role with Solar Carver 1 and 3 in advancing agrivoltaics that benefit local cranberry farmers and provide the community with clean energy, tax money and jobs,” said Ben Catt, CEO of Pine Gate Renewables.
Solar Carver 1 is being built on a 70 acre site that will produce 6 MW of energy along with a 24 MW hour storage battery, while Solar Carver 3 will produce 3 MW and a 12 MW hour storage battery on a 35 Morning grounds will accommodate. The
With long-life batteries, the system can optimize its energy profile in the network. The projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2021 and produce enough energy to supply around 7,000 households with electricity annually.
Solar Carver 1 & 3 will be part of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, a nationwide long-term solar incentive program with the intention of raising 3,200 MW of new solar projects in the Commonwealth. Most solar projects are built with steel shelves. However, to make room for the cranberry bogs underneath, Pine Gate’s skillful EPC team will design the solar carver projects to be built on 25 to 40 foot long wooden power poles
durable for wet terrain. These poles are driven 15 to 30 feet into the ground to keep the trackers at least 10 feet above the cranberry bogs and allow for an annual fall harvest.
On this $ 53 million project, John Hancock served as the sponsored equity arranger, Live Oak Bank provided the permanent debt financing, and the US Bank provided the tax equity.
“Live Oak Bank is proud to support the dual-use solar projects led by Pine Gate Renewables in Massachusetts,” said Jennifer Williams, director of renewable energy for Live Oak Bank. “Our team strives to help project developers expand their solar portfolio and ultimately have a positive impact on the local economy and climate change.”
“US Bank is excited to be part of this unique project that enables solar to partner with cranberry growers,” said Jonathan Peeples, business development officer at US Bancorp Community Development
Corporation, the bank’s tax capital and community investment subsidiary. “We appreciate our continued partnership with Pine Gate and their unique, creative approaches to helping us all be responsible environmentalists.”
The University of Massachusetts-Amherst has selected the Solar Carver Projects to participate in a study of the double row solar projects, where the distance between solar panels and cranberry production is between rows.