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BOSTON-National Grid is proposing the development of four of its properties into solar generating facilities. Under the Green Communities Act, utilities are allowed to develop and own up to 50 megawatts of solar generating facilities by 2010. The proposal was filed recently with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. The plan is scheduled to complete in 2009 because of the 2010 restriction, according to National Grid.

“We believe that developing solar generation can offer very real benefits to our customers,” says Tom King, president of National Grid in the US, in a statement, “and complements our existing portfolio of energy efficiency programs across the Northeast.”

The plan proposes to install solar panels onto four company-owned Massachusetts sites on Wharf Street in Revere; Victory Road in Dorchester; Rover Street in Everett; and Hilldale Road in Haverhill. The sites were chosen since they have sufficient space which can assis in relieving electricity congestion points.

The proposal is to continue this process throughout the rest of the state, starting with these four properties; working with customers throughout the state to locate and install solar generation on customer-owned buildings or properties; and to provide education and advice to customers who want to participate in existing solar initiatives. Some of the properties being considered as future prospects include government-owned buildings and public schools.

“These installations are just a start for us,” Kings says in a statement. “In the coming months, we expect to expand our program to include installations on customers’ properties including municipal, state and federally owned buildings. Massachusetts’ public schools also are included, as is providing education and advice on solar generation for our customers.”

The estimated cost of the project will be roughly $38 million, however National Grid believes that much of this cost will be off-set by the amount of energy produced and available subsidies. The charge-back to the public is approximated at 8 cents, but will be determined at a later date. Once properly estimated, the rate must go through an approval process before being implemented, according to National Grid.

National Grid is an international energy delivery company, delivering electricity to customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. The company also manages a network of electricity for the Long Island Power Authority.

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