Fairview Farms in Whately, Massachusetts, is a 100-acre multi-generational family farm with large greenhouse complexes and planted fields. The farm’s owners met a Nexamp developer at a solar project ribbon-cutting at a local farmers’ co-op and became interested in leasing a portion of their underutilized land to host a solar project. Nexamp completed the 2.4 MW PV installation in June 2014.
Because Massachusetts allows off-site net metering, the nearby University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is able to purchase all net metering credits that the Nexamp installations at Fairview Farms and another local farm produce. These two projects are expected to save the university approximately $1.5 million over the first 20 years of operation.
For Fairview Farms, the solar land-lease agreement was an ideal solution for a plot of extremely granular farmland that required significant irrigation and fertilization for agricultural use, which would have been expensive and damaging to the environment. The ground-mounted PV project brings positive environmental impacts and ensures a steady income to even out the seasonable variability of farming.
Nexamp worked with Solectria Renewables and RBI Solar to develop the project design. RBI Solar assisted in the soil analysis to determine the specifications for the racking system’s driven piles to address the site’s 65 psf snow loading and 100 mph wind speed characteristics.