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First Wind enters solar market in Mass.

After years of building wind farms, mostly in Maine and Hawaii, Boston-based developer First Wind said Monday it is expanding into solar power, with projects in Warren and Millbury already underway.

The move will allow First Wind to tap a booming solar market here, spurred in large part by the state’s aggressive policy encouraging the use of renewable energy.

The solar installations — 3 megawatts in Millbury and 14 megawatts in Warren — are its first projects in Massachusetts. Together, First Wind estimates, they will generate enough electricity to power 3,100 homes.

“Massachusetts has led the way on renewable energy issues, and we are excited that we are able to add some clean energy projects right here in the Commonwealth,” Paul Gaynor, First Wind’s chief executive, said in a statement.


The University of Massachusetts has agreed to purchase most of the solar power under a 30-year contract, First Wind said. The electricity will be used at the university’s Lowell and Medical Center campuses, and is expected to save the schools more than $1 million a year. The towns of Orange and Millbury also will buy some of the solar power.

The Boston developer expects the projects to create roughly 85 construction-related jobs, and provide revenue for their host towns. First Wind will pay $130,000 in annual taxes in Warren, and $50,000 a year in Millbury.

Both projects are scheduled to be operational by June.

Erin Ailworth can be reached at eailworth@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ailworth.