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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Huge Batteries Store Energy for Holyoke Gas and Electric

The new battery system that stores energy made from the solar at Holyoke Gas and Electric.

Green Energy Times staff

The old Mount Tom coal-burning plant. Wikimedia Commons.

The article, “From Dirty Coal to Solar Power,” (bit.ly/coal-to-solar) which appeared in the December 2016 issue of Green Energy Times, described what was to become the largest solar array in Massachusetts. The 5.76-megawatt photovoltaic array at the retired coal-burning Mount Tom power plant now supplies power to Holyoke Gas and Electric (HG&E). The output from its 17,208 solar panels is sufficient for nearly a thousand homes in the area.

Last year, the decision was made to add more to the site. Six GridSynergy batteries, each the size of a shipping container, were added to the solar system by Engie Storage, which will operate the system under a 20-year contract with HG&E. The cost of the electric energy is low enough that savings can be passed to retail customers in the form of lower electric rates.

Solar power is especially valuable, because it is produced at what is usually a peak demand time. It has the problem of disappearing at sundown, when normal peak demand is not quite over. The batteries are rated at three megawatts and store six megawatt-hours of electric power. Their energy can shift the solar array’s output to match demand.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse said his city has “a vision of being one of the first carbon-neutral communities in the state.” He added that the new battery system will help move Holyoke toward that goal.

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