HATFIELD – Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 – MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey joined Representative Peter Kocot, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, and other state and local officials for the “switching on” ceremony of MassDOT’s solar array.
Located at MassDOT’s District 2 Highway Division Administration Building, the array has the capacity to power up to one-third of the building’s energy needs under optimum conditions and has space to expand in the future.
“Today we’re here to celebrate a milestone in the way we think about our transportation assets and how we utilize them,” said Secretary Davey. “As we continue to search for new ways to reduce our costs, save money, and improve our customers’ experience, this project stands as an example that takes a major step toward accomplishing all three of those goals.”
Construction of the solar array began on Aug. 23 and finished on Oct. 31, and was done at no upfront cost to taxpayers. The project’s contractor, JF White, funded construction in exchange for earning Solar Renewable Energy Credits, which, after a solar facility is properly certified, accrue as the facility generates power and can be sold and traded on the open market.
This is the first time any state agency has used state highway layout to construct a clean energy generation facility. One other municipal facility exists on state highway layout in the town of Carver.
"As the owner of a solar array of comparable size, the City of Northampton is aware of the cost savings a solar-electric array of this size can provide and we love that this array is so highly visible to the general public at a primary Northampton entrance,” said Mayor Narkewicz. “Northampton saves $1,200 per month from our array at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. DOT's installation here fits with Northampton’s work to advance clean energy."
As part of the project, the building has been outfitted with equipment with the capability 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.
For transportation news and updates visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot, blog: www.mass.gov/blog/transportation, or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot and Facebook at www.facebook.com/massdotinfo.