“Funding is always a challenge for housing authorities. The savings from the Depot Hill project will enable us to build up our operating reserves and ultimately install new rooftops on our developments.”
Mary Karabatsos, Executive Director, Dracut Housing Authority
When Lodestar’s founders Jeff Macel and Jaime Smith first toured the site at Depot Hill in Charlton, MA, they had their doubts. The site was hilly, rocky, had a difficult narrow entrance, and was bordered by the Massachusetts Turnpike.
What the site lacked, Lodestar made up for with a determined group of partners. This started with an outstanding local developer named Brendan Gove from Zero Point Development who shared his initial vision with Lodestar. The Town of Charlton, understanding the value and tax benefits of solar energy, played a key role in supporting the project. The site challenges were overcome with outstanding civil construction by Botticello Construction. The design and construction was led by long-term partner S&C Electric. It wasn’t an easy site, but the project came together and the 9,405 solar panels will provide clean, green energy over the next 25 years.
Many important organizations will benefit from the clean energy generated by this large solar project. Both the Town of Dracut and Dracut Housing Authority participated in buying net metering credits. Leominster Housing Authority, one of the earliest housing authorities to understand the importance of solar in MA, agreed to purchase discounted net metering credits. Oxford Housing Authority and Auburn Housing Authority then quickly understood the value and benefits to their low-income residents. The housing authorities were supported by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) under the leadership of Paul McPartland.