On the heels of Earth Day 2016, the Town of Needham held its Grand Opening Ceremony for its 3.59 MW solar array, located on top of the Town's landfill.
The solar project is the result of the collaboration and hard work of Brightfields Development, the Town of Needham, and SolarCity. The grand opening ceremony began with the Solar Sam Kiosk Dedication. At the site, a kiosk was built highlighting the various steps of construction and the benefits of solar; the kiosk was dedicated to Sam "Solar Sam" Wiehe, a former Needham resident who devoted his time to educating youth about the benefits of solar. David Svendson, Sam's colleague, and Judy Furlow, Sam's daughter, both spoke about Sam's legacy and what this array would mean to him.
Following the kiosk dedication, Judith Judson, Commissioner of the MA Department of Energy Resources, spoke about the success that Massachusetts has had thus far - developing 1600 MW of solar and ranking 4th in the nation for solar development - and the continuing importance of solar in the state's energy future. Finally, Mike Singer of Brightfields Development spoke to all of the time and effort that went into the project's completion. To complete the opening ceremony, Dylan Venell, Operations Manager of SolarCity, gave a guided tour of the installation. Local high school students and residents were led through the site and given a step by step overview to how the array works.
The Needham array will be an asset to the Town for years to come. It will generate enough energy to provide power to the Town's three largest buildings: Needham High School, Pollard Middle School and Newman Elementary School and will avoid over 1 million pounds of Carbon Dioxide emissions.