Construction of the solar installation was completed without interfering with the cranberry bog's growth or harvesting seasons.
“We think this is a great example of a win-win solution”
– Jeffrey Macel.
Built over a cranberry bog in Carver, MA, this facility is proof that the solar industry and agriculture can work together successfully. In fact, the shade provided by the solar panels is actually beneficial to the cranberry vines. The additional income also helps the owner of the bog during a challenging growing season.
Lodestar stepped into the project when the original developer began having trouble with structuring financing. Working with both the town of Carver and the Department of Environmental Protection, Lodestar was able to get the project moving again. Partnering with S&C Electric and Mike Paduch, the bog owner, the team worked out the unique logistics of developing a solar facility over an active cranberry bog.
The construction schedule was determined by the bog itself. Cranberries are softer and more flexible early in the year. By July, the vines are much more ridged and more easily broken. With harvesting running from September through November in Massachusetts, there was really only one window of opportunity.
Construction began in the winter and was completed by late June 2016. Special consideration had to be given to the vines and water usage in the bog. All of the equipment had to be located outside of the flood zone. AC and DC cables were run along the top edges of the panels.
During construction, protective sheets were laid on the ground to protect the vines from the tracked machines used to install the panels. String inverters were utilized to minimize the risk of power loss and reduce maintenance time.
The energy (in the form of net metering credits) are being purchased at a discount by the Town of Carver and the Barnstable Housing Authority, serving low income housing in the area and delivering over $4 million in savings over the life of the project.