New Bedford Ranks in Solar Power Report

By Samantha LeComte

solar enAn Environment Massachusetts solar report released last week lists the top 57 major cities powered by solar energy.

New Bedford was highlighted as one of four “little cities that could”. With 54 watts of energy per person currently, New Bedford has more megawatts of solar power per capita than both Boston (19 watts per person) and Providence (four watts per person) combined.

The little city has over 5.2 megawatts of installed solar power running its operations, that’s more than Baltimore (ranked at 31 on the list). By August, New Bedford is expected to have an additional 7 megawatts of solar power online. By that time, New Bedford will be getting two-thirds of its energy from solar sources, saving the city $30 million over the next 20 years.

The renewable power program in New Bedford strengthens the city’s economy and environment, while saving taxpayers considerable money. The report from Environment Massachusetts applauds the small city in particular for its use of solar panels on brownfield sites contaminated with toxic chemicals, which creates a sustainable energy source from an otherwise worthless area. Both former Mayor Scott Lang, who started the city’s solar project in 2010, and current Mayor Jon Mitchell, who continues the initiative, applaud the city’s highlight in the report.