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The North Kingstown Solar Greenhouse Project – A Renewable Energy Solution Making a Difference

Quonset Business Park has been the focus of a lot of positive news lately.  Job creation, business development, and recreation facilities have been featured in local news and print media about Quonset Business Park. I myself have been frequenting the Quonset Point area lately for North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce events at AMWINS, attempting to play golf at the North Kingstown Golf Course, and enjoying the beautiful views from the various beaches and harbors.  One area of Quonset Business Park drew my attention on a recent bike ride with my son, so I reached out to Ted Kresse from New Harbor Group, who is the public relations firm responsible for a lot of the great news coming out of Quonset Business Park.  He referred me to Frank Epps, the Managing Director, US of Energy Development Partners.  I was curious about the solar panels on Gate Rd. and got quite an education in the process.

Energy Development Partners is “a solution provider for public and private energy needs combining traditional systems with renewable energy solutions” according to their website, www.edp-energy.com.  They are based in North Smithfield, RI and have a combined 30 plus years of energy infrastructure project development experience.  Frank and I spoke at length via telephone and here is a sample of our conversation:

solar panels

Frank, thank you so much for your time.  How long have you been working in this field?

Thanks, I’ve been in the renewable business since 2006 and have been working with solar facilities since 2010.

How has the response been in terms of solar power?  Are you getting resistance or has the response been favorable?  What are some key points you relate to potential clients?

Most people are very willing to listen.  For the most part, the response from local towns is favorable.  We tell our potential project representatives that solar energy is the most passive type of project. Literally, you can have an project located right next to your home or office.  It is a system that does not make noise.  This particular project in Quonset Business Park is an example of a fixed, mounted system so there is no mechanical noise.  Our units stand around 7.5 to 12 feet high, so they are not overly obtrusive to the public.  Plus, there is no glare generating by our panels.  Solar panels are meant to absorb the sun’s light, not reflect it.  There is a little or no maintenance on the panels.  In fact, we have an operational system here at the main office that monitors the panels for errors, malfunctions, and can correct a lot of the issues without sending a technician to Quonset.

Wow, solar energy really seems like an incredible solution.  How did you manage to find that particular location in Quonset Business Park?

Our team worked with Steve King and the Quonset Development Corporation on a site that literally benefitted everyone.  What I mean is we told them we would take a space that was less desirable in terms of location, landscape and access.  Our goal was to be a good community partner and not take a prime location that would benefit another potential business to develop.  So, our space in Quonset is a triangular lot and we couldn’t be happier.  One story I love to share is that we had to remove only one tree on the lot, because it was obstructing one of our panels view of the sun.  We plan on replanting that and other trees on other parts of our space.  Our projects require minimal landscaping plans, which is consistent with how we feel about preserving our natural landscape.

My family and friends know I love facts.  “Fast Facts” as we call them.  Give me some cool facts about your project here in Quonset Business Park.

You got it.  So, our system is a 500 Kilowatt-hour system (DC or direct current).  It produces 600,000 Kw/h of electricity (AC or alternating current) of electricity annually.  That much electricity in terms of usage would power close to 60 homes in North Kingstown; for an entire year.  It is equivalent to 414 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from carbon dioxide from cars, factories, and other energy usage.  To go a step further, if you and 86 of your friends drive your car for an entire year, you will be emitting roughly 414 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the carbon dioxide coming from your vehicle’s engine.  In short, we are saving the world 414 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from carbon dioxide at our North Kingstown Solar Greenhouse Project location.  It is a great step towards reducing carbon emissions and we are so proud of our facilities’ results.

That is some great knowledge that needs to be spread throughout not only our community, but nationwide.  Very cool.  So, to sum up, tell me what is the mission of Energy Development Partners?

I agree 100%.  So, our mission is:

  1. reduce overall carbon footprint
  2. local distribution and generation of electricity
  3. meet the state regulations for renewable energy

One final point if I may.  Energy Development Partners is committed to finding ways to assist communities, like North Kingstown, to reduce the cost of electricity through these solar generating facilities.  We strongly believe in helping our communities reduce their energy bills, sometimes by 15 – 20%.

I want to thank Frank Epps of Energy Development Partners for giving me such an informed lesson on solar energy.  Here is an explainer video to further emphasis the work they are doing right here in North Kingstown.

 

 

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