GZA, a leading multi-disciplinary firm providing geotechnical, environmental, ecological, water, and construction management services, has been retained by Kearsarge Energy and the Town of Montague, Massachusetts, for engineering services supporting the brownfield development of a new 3-megawatt solar energy farm.
The project, which will also involve capping a long-abandoned landfill in the Western Massachusetts community brings to over 2,400 the total megawatts of solar generation capacity GZA professionals have helped to develop in 13 states.
GZA supports solar energy development through a broad range of consulting services including environmental siting and permitting, geotechnical and civil engineering, landfill engineering, brownfield development, and regulatory/compliance support. The company is currently working on more than 25 solar energy projects in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York for multiple clients on sites including landfills, rooftops, parking garages, greenfield developments, and multi-use properties.
The new Montague project will include over 7,000 photovoltaic panels across 10.3 acres, coupled with energy storage capacity through a battery storage system. While most of the solar panels will be ballasted on the landfill, 300kW of the solar capacity will be installed on canopies that will placed over a parking area.
As an integral part of the project, 7.6 acres of landfill will be permanently closed and secured to Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) standards. GZA will provide third-party engineering oversight services including documentation and monthly reporting to MassDEP.
“Solar energy, landfill closings, and construction-site engineering support are three core capabilities of GZA, and it’s an exciting opportunity and honor for us to deploy all three to support Kearsarge Energy and the Town of Montague in this ‘brownfield to brightfield’ project,’’ said GZA CEO Patrick Sheehan.
GZA Principal Edward Summerly said: “As we’ve worked with clients and reached this 2,400-megawatt milestone, GZA’s gained invaluable real-world experience in what’s involved with transforming old landfills, abandoned agricultural land, former industrial facilities, and other impaired/underutilized properties into clean energy facilities.”
Montague Town Planner and Conservation Agent Walter Ramsey said: “The uncapped landfill has been a liability to the Town for more than two decades and presented a major capital expenditure to implement the Corrective Action Design. This project will improve water quality and generate renewable energy, all while offsetting a major capital expense outlay by the municipality. This is a model for how public-private partnerships should be done in the solar industry.”
Added Andrew Bernstein, Managing Partner at Kearsarge: “We are pleased to work with GZA on completing this project and further extending our partnership with the Town of Montague in helping to get this brownfield capped. GZA is an excellent partner and we look forward to working them on this project as well as others in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.”