by: Maureen McCoy
The elevated excitement was almost tangible when the MassMovement crew rolled up to the Brightfields Project solar panel complex. It’s city owned, constructed in 2006 and located in Brockton, MA. I can only speak for myself, having never been to see a solar panel site, and finally viewing a site with 1600 modules (330 watt each) was quite impressive.
Additionally, this site was the first of many built in the North East, and is said to be paid off by 2012 which gives the site a six year pay off. Our group met with Peter Landholm, owner of the Landholm Electric Company, who installed the modules. He was very optimistic about possible future sites for solar panels on old the Brownfield sites. These locations were previously used with industrial activity that now makes them virtually unusable for building the typical development projects such as: schools, houses, and/or parks. In Brockton there are few more, yet the major obstacle is the lack of federal funding. Though these projects can be taken on by towns, there needs to be fiscal involvement by the federal government because it is debatable if there are indeed enough private funds to construct the solar fields. Our tour guide did not fail to mention that solar panels have been installed on condo developments, the office for aging, and the school department. So, in terms of taking steps in the right direction to finding better forms of energy, the city of Brockton is on the right path, and the entire MassMovement team was grateful for the opportunity we were given with touring the solar panel site.
We never fail to have photo shoots when going places, and the Brightfields Project was no exception. Not only did we struggle to get a decent jumping picture (we gave up with the group picture and just took individuals), but the artsy pictures taken by Carrie Watkins actually giving a close up of the modules show better the beauty of the site. It’s hard to describe the entire field with all the modules gleaming on a sunny day, and I found hope in the irony that the solar field is located next to a factory. This first solar site shows the direction cities and towns are choosing to go in for the future, and it is a program like Climate Summer that reaffirming the past, current, and future initiatives in communities.