CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Construction on a solar field near Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee is almost complete. According to Joel McAuliffe, spokesperson for Mayor Richard Kos, Consolidated Edison Development (ConEd Development) is hoping to have the 3 megawatt facility finished by January 8. That is the deadline to receive state solar renewable energy credits.
The solar field is located on 27 acres off James Street, at the former Navy Housing property. McAuliffe told 22News that part of the deal with ConEd Development had the company demolishing structures on the site, and cleaning up the area. ConEd Development has been working quickly on the project, their request for proposal was accepted in September, with the deal just having been finalized.
The City of Chicopee acquired the former Navy Housing property in 2011, after exploring the issue for about six years. A total of about $2 million dollars has been spent by the city and state (about $1 million each) to prepare the site for development.
McAuliffe said that the solar field will be able to reduce energy costs for neighboring Westover Air Reserve Base; something that should make the Westover more attractive for continued operation when the Department of Defense considers base closures.
McAuliffe says that while most of the property is being used for the solar field, a little more than five acres of the site (located nearest to the Airpark North Industrial Park) will be made available for future industrial development.