Green Development Solar Project Will Provide North Smithfield $10 Million in New Revenue if Approved

Saturday, April 21, 2018


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Green's project would generate millions in new revenue

North Smithfield could be a big winner in the location of a major solar project that will provide the town approximately $10 million in new revenue over the next 20 years.

Representatives of Green Development, a renewable energy developer based in Rhode Island, will testify before the North Smithfield Town Council on Monday evening and outline the proposed project which will be one of the largest new sources of revenue for the town in years.

If the project is approved the new revenues would be generated from several proposed solar projects located on multiple parcels of land north of Iron Mine Hill Road and east of the Providence Pike.

Green Job Growth

According to the company, the projects would create 250 temporary construction jobs during the approximately one-year build-out of the system. Green is committed to holding a local a job fair and will prioritize hiring qualified North Smithfield residents and, at the request of the town council, with a particular emphasis on U.S. veterans.

The March jobs report found that Rhode Island lost 500 jobs over February's numbers. Both manufacturing and construction sectors lost jobs.

Green has continued to evaluate the potential sites and the latest engineering analysis projects that multiple solar arrays could generate 50 to 65 megawatts (MW) while remaining within the footprint originally shared with the town. 

“We look forward to helping North Smithfield become a statewide leader in sustainable energy, while dramatically improving the town’s finances for the next 25 years,” said Michelle Carpenter, Vice President of Development at Green Development. “The collection of projects will offer North Smithfield significant yearly tax payments through a low-impact use that will not affect town fire, police or school services.”

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Project is expected to create 250 construction jobs

The combined solar arrays could significantly improve the financial outlook for the town, providing $7,000 per MW in tax payments, which is 40% greater than required by state law and above the $6,000 per MW originally offered.  At the mid-range of capacity (57.5 MW), the enhanced tax payment to the town would result in a payment of $402,000 per year and $10 million over the 25-year life of the project. This proposed annual tax payment would exceed the $238,000 per year that the town receives from Walmart by nearly 70%. Green Development would also make a one-time upfront donation of $5,000 per MW, or $287,500, to be used at the town’s discretion.

The project would generate power for 13,500 typical Rhode Island homes, or more than 2.5 times all the households in North Smithfield.  This clean energy would directly offset electricity, and the greenhouse gases, that are currently generated from out-of-state fossil fuel plants.

Additionally, the proposed solar projects would be a significant step toward the state’s goal of 1,000 MW of renewable energy by 2020. Northern Rhode Island has been in an ongoing battle over a proposed natural gas-fueled power plant in Burrillville.

Setbacks of at least 100 feet from external property lines will be incorporated into the projects with a green buffer zone along neighboring residential properties, said the company in a press release.

The proposed sites are surrounded by transmission lines and route 146 on three sides and will not be visible from residential neighborhoods.

The town council is not holding a hearing on the solar proposal specifically, but will address appropriate land and zoning uses that would allow the project to move forward through the planning board review and approval process.  The final size of the projects will be subject to final design and permitting.

Green Development has developed renewable energy projects in North Kingstown, West Warwick, Coventry and Richmond and is currently constructing a 21MW wind turbine project in Johnston.  The company expects to have 55 MW of solar and wind projects in operation statewide by the end of 2018.


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