Located in Brookfield, Massachusetts - Brookfield Orchards is a 345 acre apple orchard.
Brookfield Orchards has a farm store and 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 70 acre 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. 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 community 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 work the remaining portion of the orchard.
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 out of view of orchard customers.
We worked with one of the orchard neighbors that had 150 acres of neighboring farm land. Offering both land owners 45 year leases, we utilized 50 acres combined.
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 it's needed most.