New York-based firm purchases North Smithfield solar farm

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – An energy company based in New York, N.Y. has purchased a portfolio of New England-based solar facilities, including a 1.1 megawatt array on Great Road in North Smithfield.

Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company, LLC, purchased a 15-project solar portfolio from NextSun Energy, the firm announced this week. According to a release from Greenbacker, all of the acquisitions reached commercial operations between the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2017, and come with long-term power purchase agreements already in place with utilities, municipalities, and businesses.

“We are long-term owner-operators, who strive to be good stewards of the land and responsible members of the communities in which we operate,” noted the renewable energy company.

Boston-based NextSun installed the 150-panel array on Great Road in North Smithfield in 2014, marking the town’s first experiment with large-scale solar. Many additional solar projects have since gained town approvals, including the 160-acre solar farm off of Iron Mine Hill Road.

Situated on a 25-are lot by the Branch River tucked behind The Brickle Group’s wool-making manufacturing plant at 582 Great Road, the array produces energy sold to National Grid. The energy company signed a 15 year contract with NextSun, and property owner Sam-Man Realty Corp. reportedly plans to purchase the electricity for 10 years after the National Grid agreement expires.

Sam-Man currently pays around $5,000 annually in taxes on tangibles on the solar lot according to town property records.

The acquisition includes Greenbacker’s first renewable energy asset in Rhode Island.

“This portfolio also represents a successful collaboration with the solar development experts at NextSun Energy, with whom we look forward to partnering again in the future,” said CEO Charles Wheeler.

Jake Laskin, president of NextSun said his company now plans to focus on developing future solar and battery energy storage systems.

“We couldn’t be happier with the partnership we have created with the folks at GREC and certainly look forward to working together again,” Laskin said.

With the purchase, Greenbacker’s fleet of sustainable infrastructure projects comprises approximately 2.2 GW of generating capacity, including assets that are still to be constructed, according to the firm. GREC states that since 2016, its real assets have generated 3 million megawatt-hours of clean energy, abating 2.1 million metric tons of carbon, with projects that support 2,700 green jobs.

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