First use of state highway layout for solar energy generation facility
HATFIELD – Thursday, August 23, 2012 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray today joined Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey and other state and local officials in Hatfield to break ground on the first solar array to be built on state highway property. The solar array will be capable of producing 70 kilowatts of electricity, which will assist in the energy needs of MassDOT’s District 2 Highway Administration Building.
“Governor Patrick and I have focused on investing in clean, renewable technology and energy,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “Our Administration continues to work across state agencies to advance green initiatives, and this project is a great example of how innovation can lead to costs savings and job creation in the region.”
Construction of the array will be complete by October 31, 2012, and will be done at no upfront cost to MassDOT by JF White. Instead of payment, MassDOT will be purchasing the clean power generated from the array, which under optimum environmental conditions will power 30 percent of MassDOT’s District 2 Highway Division Administration Building.
Under MassDOT’s GreenDOT Implementation Plan, the agency has set goals for the reduction in the use of fossil fuel based energy, greenhouse gas emissions, and to improve air quality.
“Construction of the solar array is aligned with all three of these goals,” said Secretary Davey. “In addition, it is also the first time we are using our state highway property for this purpose. We want this to be visible to drivers – to our customers – so we get the message across that we are serious about our goals.”
“This important solar installation continues the clean energy revolution in Massachusetts and helps reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “339 of 351 towns now have at least one state-supported solar electricity project, and we are more than halfway to meeting the Governor’s goal of installing 250 megawatts by 2017, with five years left to hit the target.”
By the end of July, Massachusetts had more than 129 megawatts of solar power installed - enough electricity to power more than 20,404 homes. When compared with fossil fuel-generated electricity, it represents the equivalent of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from 13,870 cars per year.
As part of the project, the District 2 building will be outfitted with equipment capable of switching between the solar array and the power grid. During clear days, the building will draw power from the solar array; during night time hours or during overcast days, the building will be powered by Western Massachusetts Electric Company.
To learn more, visit: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/greendot.aspx