Providence Water Becomes First Water Utility in Rhode Island to be 100% Powered by Renewable Energy
Operational 4.9 megawatt solar array anticipated to produce 100% of Providence Water’s Energy and $25 million in savings
View Pine Hill Solar Project Overview Video and Project Photos here: https://provwater.com/solar
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Oct. 1, 2020) – Providence Water today announced that the 4.99 megawatt (MW), 17,739 panel Pine Hill Solar Project located at 10 Pine Hill Road in Johnston, is now operational allowing the utility to meet its goal of being powered by 100 percent renewable energy sources, while also achieving significant energy cost savings.
“Investing in sustainability, energy efficiency and renewable energy is good for the bottom line of our environment and our rate payers,” said Xaykham Khamsyvoravong, Chairman of the Providence Water Supply Board. “The completion of the Pine Hill solar array means that 100 percent of Providence Water’s energy needs are now met by renewable energy sources. We are proud to reach this sustainability milestone that will benefit our environment while also producing an estimated $25 million in energy cost savings over the next 25 years.”
“Sustainability has long been at the core of Providence Water’s mission, so working towards the goal of 100 percent renewable energy has been one of our most important initiatives,” said Ricky Caruolo, General Manager of Providence Water. “At our new headquarters we installed a rooftop solar array, switched to energy efficient LED lighting, purchased three zero-emissions Chevy Bolts, and installed two electric vehicle charging stations. And now with the completion of the 4.99 MW, 17,739 panel Pine Hill solar array, we have reached our goal of being powered by 100 percent renewable energy sources. This project could not have happened without the hard work of many Providence Water employees, our project partners AEP OnSite Partners and EDF Renewables, and the Town of Johnston. Working cooperatively, we were able to bring this project from RFP to operation in two years.”
“We are proud to achieve commercial operations at our Pine Hill Solar project,” said Joel Jansen, chief operating officer, AEP OnSite Partners. “We see great value in supporting Providence Water’s sustainability initiative through our long-term commitment as owner and operator of this project, and are honored to be the company providing clean, renewable, reliable and affordable solar energy to Providence Water.”
“The Pine Hill Solar project is another example of Providence Water pioneering environmentally responsible initiatives. The project will provide long-standing tax benefits to the local community as well as cost saving to rate payers,” said Rod Viens, Senior Vice President, EDF Renewables Distributed Solutions. “We are pleased to work in collaboration with AEP Onsite Partners to bring the project to completion during unique pandemic challenges on the construction process.”
The Pine Hill solar array is located on a 30-acre site that borders Providence Water’s watershed. Providence Water owns much of the abutting property where woodland serves as a natural buffer from neighboring privately-owned properties. Minimal tree clearing (61 trees on less than one acre) was necessary during construction, and replacement seedlings were planted near the cleared area.
Providence Water Pine Hill Solar Array Project Facts
· Located at 10 Pine Hill Road, Johnston
· Ground mounted solar array generates 4.99 MW AC/6.652 MW DC
· Providence Water purchases utility power at the contracted fixed rate of $0.0914/kWh for the next 25 years with an option of an additional 10 years
· The Pine Hill Solar project combined with the Central Operations Facility’s rooftop solar array will provide Providence Water with 100 percent renewable energy
· Project RFP issued May 2018
· Proposals opened June 2018
· Awarded to EDF Renewables and contract signed April 2019
· Construction began November 2019
· AEP OnSite acquired the Pine Hill solar project from EDF Renewables, to serve as owner and operator
· System operational August 2020
· Only 61 trees on less than an acre of the site needed to be removed and 75 trees were planted to replace the removal
· Approximately 8,500,000 kWh/ year production
· System is designed to produce 100% of PW’s remaining electric consumption
· Solar array is in front of the meter and therefore AEP OnSite Partners generates net meter credits monthly and Providence Water purchases them at the contracted rate of $0.0914/kWh for the next 25 years
· Approximately $580,000 - $600,000 first-year annual savings on electric utility costs are expected. Energy escalation rates are anticipated over the years
· $25 million in savings over the course of the next 25 years
Pine Hill Solar Project Overview Video and Project Photos
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About Providence Water:
Providence Water is Rhode Island’s largest water utility, providing drinking water to approximately 600,000 Rhode Islanders in more than a dozen communities through wholesale distribution. The utility has more than 75,000 direct retail customers in Providence, North Providence, Cranston, Johnston, and Smithfield.
About AEP OnSite Partners:
AEP OnSite Partners, an American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) company, works directly with customers, developers and government officials to deliver energy solutions based upon market knowledge, innovative application of technology and deal-structuring capabilities. AEP OnSite Partners targets opportunities in distributed solar, combined heat and power, energy storage, waste heat recovery, energy efficiency, peaking generation and other energy solutions that create value for our customers.