The Sentinel: “Powered by the sun.” February 25, 2010. ROCHESTER — Rochester Conservation Commission at its Feb. 16 meeting considered the proposed installation of a 435-unit solar panel system at the Quittacas Water Treatment Plant, which is owned by the City of New Bedford, and located on Negus Way in the far northwestern corner of the town, at the border with Freetown.

The photovoltaic (PV) system is designed to supply 91.35 kilowatts of electric power for the facility annually. The project came before the local Conservation Commission for approval because a portion of it is within the 100-foot buffer zone of a bordering vegetated wetland, which is regulated by the local conservation commission under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, and the town’s wetlands protection by-law.

The project, which is being funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the “federal stimulus law” proposes to locate the 210-watt modules on a bed of crushed stone at the site. The facility uses near 4.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year. The PV system will produce approximately 110,000-kilowatt hours of electricity annually, or about 2.5 percent of the total electricity consumed. While that amount is small, as the cost of electricity rises over the 20-year life of the PV system, its value will rise in terms of reducing the total cost of electricity needed to operate the facility.

Carol Rego, an engineer from Camp Dresser & McKee representing the city before the commission, said that the construction, by Nexamp, would take about one month. She said that no excavating would occur, other than clearing the topsoil and adding the crushed stone. The PV system, according to Rego, has a service life of 20 years at its rated load. Link to Article