BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is continuing to install solar energy infrastructure and incorporate innovative solar technologies into its transportation projects and systems. The latest phase of MassDOT’s Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Energy Program is now nearing completion as two ground-mount PV facilities have been mechanically completed in West Stockbridge and Salisbury and the foundation for a solar canopy has been installed in Hopkinton.
“We are proud to continue adopting renewable and clean energy technologies that contribute to Greenhouse gas reductions, lead to health dividends and lower energy costs,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to expanding renewable energy sources and MassDOT will continue to take steps to incorporate clean energy infrastructure where we have suitable locations for it.”
“MassDOT continues to expand the use of solar arrays because they are a win-win for the environment and the quality of life for all of us,” said Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin. “We appreciate the collaboration with the public and other stakeholders in implementing our Solar Photovoltaic Energy Program which is consistent with our overall desire to be more environmentally friendly, and we look forward to experiencing the many benefits of this program including reduced greenhouses gases and lower energy costs.”
The ground-mount solar arrays, located at I-90 Exit 1 in West Stockbridge and at the MassDOT Highway District 4 depot in Salisbury, are expected to be operational this spring when they are able to be connected to the power grid. Additionally, at MassDOT’s new Research and Materials Lab in Hopkinton, crews are continuing to install “solar canopies” – carports with solar modules used to collect solar energy – in the parking lot. These canopies, like the ground-mounted facilities, will be net-metered, meaning the energy they generate will be fed into the power grid, and MassDOT will receive credit used to offset its other utility accounts. These three sites that make up the second phase of the PV project represent important steps toward reducing energy costs, greenhouse gas emission and making use of underutilized land resources. With the completion of this stage, MassDOT will have eight solar array facilities capable of producing roughly 5.5 million megawatt hours of electricity per year, which is a reduction of nearly 2,400 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year or approximately 5.5% of MassDOT’s overall energy demand.
In addition to greenhouse gas reduction and increased energy independence, the new solar facilities will generate revenue for MassDOT in the form of annual lease payments. It is projected that for every dollar of power purchased at the West Stockbridge, Salisbury and Hopkinton facilities, MassDOT will receive approximately $1.60 in net metering credits.
These solar facilities are being developed in partnership with Ameresco, a leading independent provider of comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions. The solar canopy project in Hopkinton was also partially funded by a $245,000 grant from the state’s Department of Energy Resources.
(The following photograph shows the solar arrays located at the Salisbury Depot.)