COMMUNITY SOLAR

Brookfield Orchards

Project Name
Brookfield Orchards
Location
Brookfield, MA
Project Size
9,019
ACRESS
Status
Exit at NTP
Program
MA SMART PROGRAM

Located in Brookfield, Massachusetts - Brookfield Orchards is a 345 acre apple orchard.

They have a farm store, pick your own acreage, and host community events, farmers markets, and local craft fairs. They are truly woven into the fabric of North Brookfield. Having just recently sold a 70acre plot to a residential home builder, the property owners were actively looking to subdivide the property for sublots. We collaborated to develop a 13-acre project on a 50-acre block of the orchard that had recently been cleared of an earlier generation of apple trees.

The project was permitted in 2011 and 2012 and constructed in 2013, where the family started receiving lease payments there after. The surrounding neighbors were pleased there would not be more high density housing in their rural neighborhood.

The motivation of the property owner was the long term income opportunity that solar land leasing provided. The long term income was preferred as a means to help support the salaries of the many families and employees that still work the remaining portion of the orchard.

Brookfield Orchards

Solar incentives returned in Massachusetts in 2017, and we contacted the family again to see if they wanted to develop another project.

The second Brookfield Orchards project was much larger, and would be placed further out in the back of the property where none of the orchard customers could have view of the solar project.

We worked in conjunction with one of the orchard neighbors that also had 150 acres of neighboring farm land. Offering both land owners leases, we utilized 50 acres combined and offered both property owners 45 years of long term lease income.‍

Ultimately the project was built as a 9MW fixed tilt project, with 45 acres of panels. During planning and construction we worked with the North Brookfield planning board to put in place a solar conservation restriction on the two farms ensuring that a significant portion of the remaining land stays solar free.

Our Brookfield Orchards project employees one of the largest battery storage systems to date in Massachusetts, and provides power to the grid in the evening exactly when its needed most.