Montague awarded a state grant to study a microgrid development project

Microgrids use solar energy and battery storage to power interconnected buildings

FILE- This April 20, 2011, file photo shows some of the 30,000 solar panels that make up the Public Service Company of New Mexico's new 2-megawatt photovoltaic array in Albuquerque, N.M. Some in the U.S. solar-power industry are hoping a decision this week by President Donald Trump doesn’t bring on an eclipse. Companies that install solar-power systems for homeowners and utilities are bracing for Trump’s call on whether to slap tariffs on imported panels. The solar business in the U.S. has boomed in recent years, driven by falling prices for panels, thanks in part to cheap imports. That has made solar power more competitive with electricity generated from coal and natural gas. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan,File)

MONTAGUE, Mass. (WWLP)- 12 Massachusetts communities are receiving state funding to study “microgrid” development projects.

Montague secured a $75,000 grant with the help of MacLoud Energy Group.

“The Connecticut River Valley has been hit hard with storms that have resulted in long term outages so resiliency is top of mind for the Montague community,” said Margaret Campbell, founder of the MacLeod Energy Group.

Microgrids use solar energy and battery storage to power interconnected buildings. They reduce energy costs and increase energy resiliency during emergencies.

Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School would act as an emergency shelter in times of natural disasters. The Turners Falls Fire Chief said having the microgrid would ensure this building has power. Montague may install solar panels on carports at the Turners Falls high school parking lots, and the public safety complex. They also will assess both buildings’ diesel generators.

“Since I’ve been chief, I’ve been looking at ways at cutting energy costs,” said Turners Falls Fire Chief John Zellmann. “We converted the fire house to have LED lighting and this is just another step”.

Chief Zellmann told 22News they will soon be testing out the procedures for running the emergency shelter. Palmer and Pittsfield also received grants to study how they would use a microgrid in their community.