The northern city of Medford, Massachusetts partnered with Solect Energy to install a 235 kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar system on the roof of its new Department of Public Works (DPW) building. The new system is comprised of 588 LG solar modules and is expected to cover 100% of the electricity usage over an average year, producing about 300,000 kilowatt-hours per year.
The installation was contracted as a power purchase agreement (PPA) wherein the city had the system installed with zero money down through Solect Energy. “The City has been making strides towards our mission of fiscal and environmental stewardship,” said Medford Mayor Stephanie M. Burke. “We are pleased to make these investments in and commitments to our community and remain dedicated to expanding our goal to be carbon neutral by 2050.”
The new push by the City of Medford is in support of a region-wide effort towards being carbon neutral by 2050. At the city level, the City Council unanimously supported the new installation on the DPW building in a vote last year, signaling strong support for renewables at the city level.
The new solar array is a part of a new microgrid system for the energy efficient DPW building that combines the solar and an on-site energy storage system. The new microgrid system was funded by a MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative Grant of $700,000. The funds were sought and granted to improve the resiliency of the DPW to allow it to continue to provide services to the city in the event of an emergency.
Medford, Massachusetts is probably not in a part of the world where you would expect solar to be competitive, but what we are seeing play out in the real world paints a different picture. This impressive system has been contracted for 20 years and is not only saving the DPW money, it is also generating money for Solect Energy via the power purchase agreement. That speaks to the viability of solar in the northeastern United States and echoes what we have seen in countries known for their grey weather like Germany as well.
Perhaps more importantly, the array highlights the potential for small and medium businesses to take charge of their electricity supply by signing up for a zero-down power purchase agreement. As solar prices have fallen so significantly over the last 10 years, the price of installing a solar system has dropped, which makes the purchase, financing, or entering into a power purchase agreement that much more attractive. Having said that, there is no better time than now to install solar as every month that passes just means that another chunk of money goes to the utility instead of towards paying off a solar system.
It’s food for thought as you look for a great project to end the year with at your home or business.
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