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Island basks in solar power


Cuttyhunk Island in Massachusetts has basked in sustainability this summer as solar power provided the majority of its energy needs.

The tiny island, which was home to the first trading settlement in New England over 400 years ago, got over 50% of its electricity from a 1,020-panel solar array and 1 MW storage system, charged to provide nighttime power, this summer.

The microgrid system was created by Solar Design Associates earlier this year, as part of an initiative backed by the U.S. Agriculture Department.

“The microgrid’s performance and reliability have exceeded all our expectations, and we are on track to burn 30,000 fewer gallons of diesel fuel this year. That is an excellent benefit for the environment of this unique place and major cost savings for the community,” explained Paul Elias, a member of the Gosnold Electric Light Commission ‘that oversees the town-owned utility serving the island’.

As well as providing a workable solution for this small island community, which swells to no more than a few hundred people in the summer months, the developers believe the technology has global potential.

“While solar plus storage is an especially compelling approach for island communities dependent on high-cost diesel generators or costly-to-maintain cables, we’ve developed solar plus storage solutions for commercial, industrial, and utility customers as well. We see enormous potential around the world for this transformational energy technology,” said Solar Design Associates president Steven Strong.

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