Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has granted regulatory approval for two new solar power plant projects that will generate 10 megawatts of clean electricity, the largest such facilities in the state.
The decision, which marks a milestone in the state’s efforts to provide more affordable and cleaner energy, will involve the building of Somers Solar Center and the East Lyme Solar Park, each capable of producing 5 megawatts of power, enough to supply a total of 10,000 homes.
HelioSage Energy LLC, a Virginia-based solar outfit, will develop the Somers project, a 50-acre farm expected to be operational by November 2013. Meanwhile GRE 214 East Lyme LLC will be responsible for constructing the East Lyme Solar Park, which has not set a date for operations.
The move also clears the way for the owners of the projects to enter into power purchase agreements with the state’s two electric distribution companies, Connecticut Light & Power and The United Illuminating Co. The 20-year average cost of electricity from both projects is projected to be 22.2 cents per kilowatt hour.
Although Connecticut’s generation charges have steadily decreased over the past few years, lawmakers have been under pressure to implement policies to further reduce the state’s energy costs, which are still among the highest in the nation.
Renewable energy, solar and wind in particular, is viewed as one way to cut costs over time, since the expense of producing alternatives is rapidly falling with their increasing use in the United States.
Image credit: Michael Betke via Flickr