NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — A superfund site in North Smithfield will soon become a new source of green energy for Rhode Islanders.
A ground-breaking ceremony was held Wednesday for the King Community Solar Project.
“This project is the highest and best use of this land,” Co-CEO of Nautilus Solar Laura Stern said.
Gov. Gina Raimondo was on hand for the ceremony, marking the beginning of the construction of the solar farm.
“This is the largest community solar project in Rhode Island,” Raimondo said.
Nautilus Solar said the 12.44-megawatt project will provide the environmental equivalent of planting more than 10,000 trees or taking 1,500 cars off the road.
“It is going to power 1,700 homes, and it’s not just powering homes. It’s providing affordable electricity to customers who would not otherwise have access to that electricity,” Stern said.
Once complete, the two arrays will allow renters, those with roofs not appropriate for solar panels and low and moderate income customers to have the option of using clean energy and saving money.
“A few years ago, I set a statewide plan for the state that we were going to have 10 times increase in our clean energy by next year,” Raimondo said.
Raimondo said she expects the state to meet, if not exceed, that green energy goal.
“It’s not only necessary to meet the needs of climate change, but it will help create jobs and help Rhode Islanders,” Raimondo said.
The solar project is expected to be operational and providing clean energy to residents in 2020.