PV progress is happening everywhere across the Commonwealth. In 2007, a few handfuls of photovoltaic (PV) projects had a peak capacity of about 3.5 megawatts (MW). At the end of 2010, we will have over 2,600 projects completed or under construction totaling 70 MW of capacity. This phenomenal growth didn’t happen by accident. The private sector’s new appetite for solar power is a direct response to the clean energy leadership demonstrated by Governor Patrick and the Legislature in passing the Green Communities Act, and new regulations written by the Departments of Energy Resources and Public Utilities since the bill became law in 2008.
One example of the new solar activity in the Commonwealth is Western Massachusetts Electric Company’s (WMECO) 1.8 MW project at the former GE manufacturing site in Pittsfield. Utilizing a provision of the Green Communities Act that allows electric distribution utilities to install its own solar generating capacity, with DPU approval, WMECO developed this project on Superfund clean-up site, which has now been put to its highest and best use. The site is producing electricity with no impact on the environment, and the solar installation is mounted on top of the site with no disturbance of the ground. Long-term residents say this is the first time in their lives that anything positive has been associated with this site. What’s more, WMECO was able to complete this project at one of the lowest costs of any PV project in the state, and in the process has learned how to bring the cost down on future projects.
I recently attended the ribbon-cutting for this new project. Here is a link to a cool time-lapse photo depiction of its construction.
Fish Need Clean Energy, Too posted on Feb 18
Running a fish farm is an intense operation, one that requires a lot of labor and a large amount of energy. Currently, the McLaughlin Hatchery uses a significant amount of oil to heat its facility. The facility is going to replace its oil furnace with a renewable energy heating system, a new high efficiency wood pellet boiler and pellet storage silo that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 92 percent, save an estimated $11,432 annually, and reduce annual oil use by more than 5,000 gallons.
Wood Pellets are the New Oil for Regional Schools Reducing Fuel Costs posted on Feb 12
Did you know that it is possible to heat buildings in the northeast using wood biomass, a renewable energy fuel? With nearly one-third of total energy costs going toward heating our buildings, it is no wonder that Massachusetts school districts are searching for cheaper and …Continue Reading Wood Pellets are the New Oil for Regional Schools Reducing Fuel Costs
Natural Wildlife Setting Enhanced by New Zero Net Energy Building posted on Feb 6
Constructing a commercial zero net energy building (ZNEB) is no easy task, especially one that is 45,000 square feet and sits in Massachusetts where the winters are cold and summers often hot and humid. This is why over 100 people gathered enthusiastically in December in …Continue Reading Natural Wildlife Setting Enhanced by New Zero Net Energy Building