Fuller solar

From left, Kathy Doyle, CEO and founder of FireFlower Alternative Energy, Fuller Village Executive Director Deborah Felton, and Mark Bornheim, Fuller Village maintenance director.

Fifty years ago, Neil Armstrong stunned people by stepping on the surface of the moon 238,900 miles away. The 21st century has seen the sun stun people with its ability to transform traditional power via solar strength although it is 92.96 million miles from earth.

Milton’s Fuller Village leaders have done exhaustive research into solar power benefits and given the green light for a large and motivating project to commence in the near future.

Mark Bornheim, the maintenance director of Fuller Village, is keenly aware of the effectiveness of power produced by solar panels.

“It’s a wise decision because it’s a renewable energy resource in this day and age, especially if you have the ability and capability to do it, which we have,” he says. “It’s a way to hedge against higher energy costs so the administration made a wise investment for the future.”

FireFlower Alternative Energy was selected by Fuller Village officials to prepare and complete the project.

The solar array will cover approximately 42,224 square feet of rooftops and have a total capacity of 358 kilowatts. The project will create approximately 430,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. This represents approximately 35 percent of the electricity currently consumed on site, a statement from FireFlower notes.

Once the solar panels are interconnected to a local utility’s electric grid, additional benefits occur. That’s because, the Fuller Village project will benefit from the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target or SMART program. The SMART program “incentivizes investment in solar for up to 20 years,” FireFly noted in its statement. Further, Chelmsford-based MassAmerican Energy LLC, will take the lead role in the solar panel array design and installation at Fuller Village.

Kathy Doyle, founder and CEO of the company, explains more about the solar energy, drawing from her personal and professional background.

“In my former life, I was a commercial real estate broker,” she recalls. “Actually, I co-founded and co-managed what became the largest woman-owned commercial real estate brokerage in the state from 1990 to 2007. I left it to stay home with my son who was going to middle school. During that time, I did a lot of research and my husband was involved with renewable energy.

“We tried everything. We put solar on our own home in 2007. I also do wind and biofuel and use our own biodiesel from waste vegetable oil. I decided that renewable energy was the way to go, the wave of the future.

“Everything was working. I used biodiesel in my car for seven or eight years. It worked great and so did solar, exactly as advertised. I think we were the first family to request a wind turbine in Milton.

“At that time, my husband and I were both with Sustainable Milton and I was on the board for several years. Unfortunately, he became very ill and passed away two years ago, but I got involved through him, his efforts, our research and experimentation, and enjoyed learning about solar and wind and biofuels. I say now that I do the same thing I used to do, but with a purpose.”

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