Kearsarge Energy, GZA complete 2.8-MW solar project at former petroleum facility

GZA GeoEnvironmental, a multi-disciplinary firm providing geotechnical, environmental, ecological, water and construction management services, has helped Kearsarge Energy successfully develop and commission a 2.8-MW solar energy array on a former petroleum storage facility in East Providence, Rhode Island that is undergoing environmental remediation.

The project is on a 9.5-acre site and includes 6,884 solar photovoltaic modules that will generate 3.5 million kWh of electricity yearly, enough to meet the needs of more than 300 typical Rhode Island households.

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) has agreed to purchase discounted net metered credits associated with the East Providence solar farm, which are projected to deliver RIPTA more than $5 million in savings over 20 years.

“The GZA team was a critical component of our success as they led permitting, environmental complianc and remediation and oversaw construction,” said Andrew Bernstein, Kearsarge Managing Partner. “The project adds to our nearly 80 MW of installed solar capacity across Rhode Island, and we are pleased that it proved to be beneficial for the landowner, the City of East Providence, The East Providence Waterfront Commission, RIPTA and all involved stakeholders.”

Under the oversight of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), GZA has been leading remediation of subsurface petroleum product at the site through controlled biodegradation, bioventing and other technologies, with one-third of the site closed in 2016. GZA demonstrated to RIDEM that the Kearsarge solar installation would be fully compatible with the site’s conditions and ongoing remediation efforts.

“There are few better examples of a ‘brownfield to brightfield’ solar redevelopment than Kearsarge Energy’s visionary and transformational East Providence solar installation,” said Patrick Sheehan, GZA CEO. “GZA is honored to have provided engineering, geotechnical and permitting services to our longtime client Kearsarge and to help secure this site as a producer of clean energy, jobs and local tax revenues.”

The East Providence project created 40 construction jobs, $280,000 in new annual property tax revenue for the city and $362,500 in local electric grid infrastructure upgrades. More than 60% of the 9.5-acre site is being preserved as open space with new shrubbery, turf and other natural vegetation.

GZA has, to date, helped clients develop more than 2,500 MW of solar energy capacity across 13 states, on sites including landfills, rooftops, parking garages, greenfield developments, brownfield redevelopments and multi-use properties.

News item from GZA GeoEnvironmental