The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is having a lasting and positive impact on education institutions and young people all across Massachusetts. Less than a year ago, Boston College High School unveiled an 870-panel solar photovoltaic (PV) installation on a reflective white roof. By utilizing a $162,435 Commonwealth Solar Stimulus rebate administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and engaging in a power purchase agreement with Borrego Solar, the school was able to make its solar plans a reality. This 197 kW system will produce 40 percent of the electricity needed for the campus, saving the high school more than $500,000 over the next two decades and drastically reducing the school’s carbon footprint.
The solar panels are also being used as a visual teaching tool for students. Brian Maher, executive director of capital planning and technology at the high school, recently told me “the solar panels are being used to teach students firsthand about the importance of sustainability and renewable energy.” He explained that, as a part of the curriculum, students tour the solar PV system and then track the power being generated in real-time through an online monitoring system.
The monitoring system displays electricity generation in easy-to-understand numbers and equivalents. As of this writing, the system has generated over 205,000 kWh of clean, homegrown electricity – equal to the electricity needed to operate a television for over 1.4 million hours or to power 1,580 computers for a full year. This past July was Boston College High School’s highest month of electricity generation yet.
“The panels are just fantastic,” Maher said. “The system is really hitting its stride this summer and is definitely exceeding our expectations. We can’t wait to show the students the progress when the school year starts again.”
Here’s where to find more information on the Recovery Act and other similar projects in Massachusetts:
Cutting Fuel Use & Greenhouse Gases – Now – Through Hybrid Retrofits posted on Nov 25
Can hybrids, which combine a gasoline or diesel engine with an electric motor and batteries, make a real impact on greenhouse gas emissions? Retrofits from a Brighton company save fuel and cut greenhouse gas emissions immediately in light and medium duty vehicles, without waiting to replace fleets.
Eight Drivers Help Mass. Win Energy and Environment Race posted on Nov 18
Have a look at this year’s LBE award recipients – two state agencies, two municipalities, two higher education entities, and two individual – who demonstrate achievements that produce measurable environmental and energy outcomes.
“MOR” Reason to Choose Electric Vehicles posted on Nov 12
I’m in love . . . with electric vehicles (EV). They’re cool, clean and comfortable. I want one for the performance, the ongoing financial savings, and the reduction in air pollution. While not currently in the market for a new car, I was fortunate to test drive …Continue Reading “MOR” Reason to Choose Electric Vehicles