It’s official! We’ve completed the first interconnection of a solar installation (actually two of them) to our New England transmission system. The two five-megawatt solar farms are located in East Brookfield and Spencer, Massachusetts, and are connected to our new Harrington Street Switchyard and 69 kV transmission circuit in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. Engineering and design for the interconnection facilities began in 2014. Major components of the work included a new switchyard, associated tap facilities, and new protection systems between Harrington Street and neighboring substations. The site was energized after the completion of a Verizon circuit in February 2016.
Power from the solar installations will be used by Massachusetts communities that are members of the Hampshire Council, which currently include Belchertown, Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Granby, Hadley, Hatfield, Huntington, Middlefield, Pelham, Plainfield, South Hadley, Southampton, Westhampton and Williamsburg.
“I want to commend our Protection and Telecom Engineering and Operations teams for the flexibility and patience they exhibited to work with the developer and Verizon to troubleshoot and test the protection and metering equipment required to finalize the interconnection,” said Kat Cox-Arslan, director, Transmission Commercial Services. “These types of projects challenge us to work nimbly with developers that have an aggressive interconnection schedule.”
According to Kat we will apply some lessons learned to future solar interconnections.
“While solar interconnections to our distribution system have been booming in Massachusetts, this was a first for our New England transmission system,” Kat said. “We’re delighted to be able to support National Grid’s Connect21 goal to deliver more renewable energy.”