Solar Construction At Hickory Ridge To Start Soon
The Solar Project at Hickory Ridge is set to begin construction, creating local jobs and empowering the region with local, affordable, clean energy. The project has been permitted through the Amherst Zoning Board of Appeals and the Conservation Commission. The project has been designed outside of critical natural resource areas on the site. The project will be managed by Amp Solar Development and represents a partnership between the town, Amp, and Fort River Solar 2 LLC (FRS2),.
The solar site is located at 191 West Pomeroy Lane, Amherst, MA 01002. The town and FRS2, along with the site contractor, Dynamic Energy, will be constructing a 3.83 MWac community solar project. Once the mobilization date is finalized, we will provide an additional update with more details around what to expect, safety notices, and points of contact for the construction period.
History of Site
The Town of Amherst acquired the 150-acre former Hickory Ridge golf course in March 2022. The purchase represented a once-in-a-generation opportunity to acquire a large parcel of land to use for conservation, recreation, and the production of green energy. The town and Amp have worked in partnership to plan for the construction and operation of an approximately 26-acre solar project. The solar array exemplifies Amp and the town’s commitment to renewable energy. The remaining land utilization will benefit the community with the addition of recreational use and walking trails, while exemplifying conservation efforts around the beautiful woodland habitat along the Fort River. The town and Amp look forward to the on-going partnership on this unique project as together we demonstrate sound land stewardship and a commitment to renewable energy production in Massachusetts.
While access to some parts of the site will be limited during construction, the town and Amp are committed to public access at Hickory Ridge as an important area for walking, wildlife viewing, and connecting neighborhoods previously disconnected by the golf course. To that end, the town and Amp are working together to restore nearly 18-acres of riparian habitat along the Fort River to improve habitat and water quality. Likewise, the town has received over half a million dollars in local and state funds to build a trail system to increase recreation opportunities and connectivity around the site. The trail system will utilize newly developed trails, the existing cart paths, and the access road used by Amp to access the solar array.
Amp builds, owns and operates community solar farms, empowering energy customers across the US with the ability to choose local, affordable, clean energy.
With 149 projects under management, they’ve helped thousands of customers switch to clean energy and save on their annual electricity bills.
Unlike many renewable developers, they own and operate their community solar farms for their entire lifetime, placing high priority on working together with landowners, towns and other local stakeholders to ensure a valuable, long-term partnership in the fight against climate change.
Across their Massachusetts state portfolio, consisting of 25 separate projects, their solar farms are helping local farmers maximize or repurpose their land, while creating hundreds of local jobs.
More information: Contact email@example.com or the Town Manager’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
7 thoughts on “Solar Construction At Hickory Ridge To Start Soon”
Why does this read like PR for the project’s backers? I guess because the source for the piece is Amherst.gov but I’m thinking Amherst Indy readers would appreciate a more critical view of the project?
The town has been less than transparent about who will benefit from the local energy produced here. It’s Springfield that will benefit. That Amherst is not keeping this locally created energy to make the town more resilient makes me very unhappy, though making Springfield more resilient is beneficial to the region. Northampton, Amherst and Pelham should be assessing their pools of locally produced solar, sharing the information, and planning together for the upcoming Community Choice Electricity Aggregation.
Yes, the last paragraph reads like an (unpaid?) advertisement….
And one can reasonably argue that installing solar panels on rooftops or over parking lots and roadways might be better (though often costlier) than on potential conservation land….
Nevertheless, when operating at peak power, a 3.8MW plant would serve the electricity needs of several thousand households….
… and this part at the end makes even a most charitable critic quite cynical:
“…their solar farms are helping local farmers maximize or repurpose their land, while creating hundreds of local jobs.”
I know ECAC is going to make a recommendation on how much solar energy Amherst should produce locally, but that the energy produced at Hickory Ridge will go to Springfield’s count for getting to net zero gives me pause. Can we also count this solar energy towards Amherst’s net zero? Where does the energy at the other solar facilities on Amherst farmland go? Can Amherst count this towards our town’s “share” of solar energy production? If the answer is no, how will Amherst get to its “share” of solar energy production? Especially if the power at new solar energy facilities is sold to other towns or businesses or states?
Adding to my confusion is the fact that both Amherst College and Hampshire College ) along with Smith and Bowdin colleges) are buying solar energy from a large Maine solar facility. Does a share of this energy go into Amherst’s count? Can Amherst buy solar power being produced in other towns and states and add it to its “share” of solar?
Adding to complexity is the fact that Amherst, Hadley and Northampton are starting community choice energy aggregation where they will choose their energy supplier and can specify where and how energy is produced and how much is renewable. What if there is cheaper solar power being produced elsewhere? When the state buys green energy from other states, do gets to count this as part of their share? Is it divvied up among towns or cities — or just state buildings, etc.?
Also starting to wonder if focusing on a set amount of local energy production makes sense, so long as we are all heading in the right direction–be it wind, hydro or solar.
This just in…the first of AMP’s promised hundreds of local jobs went to New England Tree Masters of Boxborough, MA! When you think local, do you think Boxborough?
The Tree Masters were hired to cut down the 200 trees that are presently lying around the town-owned property. In the meantime, dog walkers, hikers, and nature seekers are wandering among the downed trees wondering what is going on. They have good reason to wonder. There are no signs, fences or erosion barriers anywhere on the property, just large fallen trees.
The cynicism of “a most charitable critic” stemmed from this phrase in particular:
“…their solar farms are helping local farmers maximize or repurpose their land….”
But now that he knows (thanks to ML for the tip!) that Boxborough is considered “local” — despite being within the “Great Wall of Boston” (a.k.a. I-495) — the reward for his unwitting prescience (including that final phrase “while creating hundreds of local jobs”) is redoubled cynicism!!