2018-06-07 / News

McQuade’s installs solar panels on roof

BY RYAN GIBBS


Newport Renewables co-founder Stuart Flanagan, from left, atop McQuade’s Marketplace explains solar safety measures to firefighters Geoff Regan, Jon Caito and Greg Borges. 
PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN Newport Renewables co-founder Stuart Flanagan, from left, atop McQuade’s Marketplace explains solar safety measures to firefighters Geoff Regan, Jon Caito and Greg Borges. PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN McQuade’s Marketplace is becoming greener, but not in the produce aisle.

The Clark Street grocery store has installed a solar array to its roof that will generate 15 percent of its power. Store manager Maurice Browning said he is waiting for National Grid to install a voltage meter before their solar panels can begin operation, which could happen any day.

“They’re all installed. They’re all ballasted. All the wiring is done,” he said.

The array of 217 panels was constructed by Newport Renewables, a provider of clean energy co-founded by two Jamestown natives, Michael Cabral and Stuart Flanagan. It was paid for by a grant from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, which offers money to businesses through its renewable energy fund.

“It made sense to do it,” Browning said.

Although the grant was an incentive to install the system, McQuade’s chain of three stores has a history with solar power, according to Browning. That includes a 151-kilowatt array at its Mystic store installed in 2009. At the time, it was the largest array on any retail store in Connecticut with more than 800 solar panels.

“We find that very helpful,” Browning said.

The 78-kilowatt array on Clarke Street is expected to generate 106,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. That is enough energy to power nine homes annually, reducing the market’s consumption from the grid and its operating costs.

McQuade’s is registered to the utility program known as net-metering, which connects the project to the local grid and allows the business to generate electricity on site. All excess generation delivered to the grid will be credited by National Grid.

The solar array went through an administrative review before the store received the go-ahead, including vetting by Town Planner Lisa Bryer, Building Official Chris Costa and Town Engineer Mike Gray. They all endorsed the project.

“It’s fantastic,” Bryer said. “I’d love to see more businesses doing it for their own use.”

Bryer said the review process was straightforward because Mc- Quade’s will use the generated power for its own electric bill. Also, the panels are not visible from the street.

The solar panels are not the first green measure to be implemented at the store. All of the lights have been switched to LEDs, and the store also installed a reclamation system that generates surplus heat from the compressors in the cooling system.

McQuade’s Marketplace is privately owned by the McQuade family, and its Jamestown location has been in business since 1982. The company also owns stores in Westerly and Mystic.

“Since 1960, when my dad started this company, he and I have not only been committed to doing our best with providing quality food products, but also to serving the community in a friendly and healthy manner,” said owner Michael McQuade.

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