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Whately solar installation goes live July 31

WHATELY — Whately’s newest solar installation on Long Plain Road goes live July 31 and a ceremony to celebrate the opening will be held at 1:30 p.m at Fairview Farms.

The 8,129-panel ground-mounted array was installed by North Andover-based solar developer Nexamp and will produce 2.4 megawatts of electricity annually.

According to a payment in lieu of taxes agreement with the town, Nexamp will pay Whately $6,150 per megawatt in the first year. The payment will increase by 2.5 percent each year.

The ceremony will include speeches from Palmer Moore, Nexamp’s developer, and Whately selectmen’s Chairwoman Joyce Palmer Fortune. Following the speaking program, guests will be given a tour of the site.

Sue Parente, a spokeswoman for Nexamp, said the event is open to the public, local camps, school groups or students from area universities who are interested in renewable energy are encouraged to attend.

Parente said a group of 10 to 12 high school girls who are participating in a pre-college summer science and engineering program at Smith College will attend.

According to Parente, energy produced will also be purchased with net metering credits by the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The university will also purchase an additional 1.5 megawatts generated from a second facility in Hadley, which was also developed by Nexamp.

According to Parente, the two projects are expected to save the university approximately $1.5 million over the first 20 years of operation.

The installation will produce enough electricity annually to power almost 300 homes.

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