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Needham Host Opening of Solar Array

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A journey that began with the 1998 capping of Needham’s landfill and continued through over a decade worth of studies and town meetings has been completed.

The Town of Needham hosted a grand opening ceremony for its 3.5-megawatt solar array sited on the town’s capped landfill on Monday, April 25th. The ceremony was held at the Recycling & Transfer Station.

Keynote speeches were given by the Commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources Judith Judson, and other members of the community. They were followed by a dedication to “Solar Sam” Weihe, an honored member of the Needham community and an inventor of the Solar Explorer, a solar-powered car.  Solar Sam has also invented solar-powered wheelchairs, paddle boats, go-karts, and common children's toys converted to run on solar electricity.

The Needham solar array consists of nearly 12,000 panels over 12+ acres of land, and will eliminate over 100 million lbs. of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next 20 years. To put that into perspective, the array provides the equivalent of 1.1 million trees planted, 27% of the annual energy consumed by Needham’s streetlights and municipal buildings, or 100% of the annual energy consumption of the town’s three largest buildings: Needham High School, Pollard Middle School and Newman Elementary School.

For more information, contact the Office of the Town Manager (781-455-7500, ext. 204).

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