PITTSFIELD — Construction of a community solar project is well underway to benefit Eversource customers throughout Western Massachusetts.
The three separate solar arrays being installed on the grounds of Hancock Shaker Village should be completed around Jan. 1 and hopefully operational early next year, according to Syncarpha Solar LLC.
The New York City-based firm, partnered with Renewable Energy Massachusetts, will have a 1-megawatt array on the Pittsfield-side of the living museum along Route 20 and two, 2-megawatt facilities in the town of Hancock.
Collectively, the solar energy generating system will feed the electricity produced into the Eversource power grid, and the three array ownership entities would be set up as Community Shared Solar facilities.
That means residents of the Berkshires who are Eversource customers can buy energy net-metering credits at a discount and realize energy savings, project officials have said.
"You can subscribe for net-metering credits before [the project] is up and running," said Matt Preskenis, Syncarpha's vice president of community solar.
Syncarpha's plan is to target residential customers of Eversource, and also municipalities or educational institutions to contract for the remaining credits.
Hancock Shaker Village also makes money off the project as the developers' facilities would provide lease income for the museum for up to a 30-year period.
"All [27 acres] of the leased land is outside the viewshed of the restored Shaker village," said acting board of trustees Chairman, Richard Seltzer in a statement. "This environmentally sound use of land is consistent with Shaker ideals and will contribute rents which will facilitate the educational mission of Hancock Shaker Village."
The developers plan to install at least a seven-foot fence around the arrays and properly screen the Pittsfield site with natural vegetation to minimize the visual impact to neighbors across Route 41.
Syncarpha views the Pittsfield/Hancock solar arrays in keeping with the museum's mission of sustainability.
"It really goes along with the value of the Shakers," said project developer Keith Akers.
Preskenis added, "The projects we get most excited about are the ones that work well and align with our customer's philosophy."
On the web ...
For information on the Hancock Shaker Village solar project, go to www.syncarpha.solar.