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Baker-Polito Administration Awards Over $2 Million in Solar Grants to Eight State Facilities

Continuing the Baker-Polito Administration’s celebration of Climate Week in Massachusetts, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced $2 million in grants for eight separate solar installations at state facilities across the Commonwealth. Projects receiving these grants total more than 5 megawatts (MW) of solar PV, which will deliver approximately $11 million in economic benefits and generate 124 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy over 20 years. The grants, which are part of $7 million in solar grants awarded through DOER’s Leading by Example program since 2014, were awarded to MassDOT, Bridgewater State University, Cape Cod Community College, and Pioneer Valley Regional Transit Authority. The announcement was made by Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Patrick Woodcock and Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver at MassDOT’s Central Massachusetts Transportation Center in Worcester.

“The Commonwealth continues to lead the nation in clean energy policies with programs like Leading by Example, which are both innovative and instructive,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The efforts by the Leading by Example team, MassDOT, and other state institutions have resulted in greater solar and EV adoption, aiding in our efforts to meet ambitious net zero emissions requirements set forth by legislation signed earlier this year.”

“The grants awarded today serve as another great example of the work we are doing to support the ongoing development of solar energy within the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our Administration is committed to supporting the continued growth of the solar industry in Massachusetts, which is delivering emissions reductions and economic benefits throughout the Commonwealth.”

MassDOT received a total of $1.23 million in grants for five solar projects demonstrating a diverse range of solar applications that include parking lot canopies, rooftop solar, battery energy storage, sound barrier utilization, and connection to a project striving to meet net zero building standards. The MassDOT projects will result in an estimated $8.6 million in fiscal benefits over 20 years. The grants include $365,000 for solar canopies at MassDOT park-and-ride sites in Plymouth, Harwich, and New Bedford along with a $520,000 grant for a 773 kW Commonwealth-owned solar canopy at the new state of the art Central Massachusetts Transportation Center in Worcester where state officials gathered today. Additionally, DOER awarded a $345,000 grant to support an innovative 637 kW third party-owned solar installation atop the I-95 sound barrier in Lexington. The project is comprised of solar panels to be mounted directly to 160 sound barrier wall sections along the interstate I-95 south. This project would be the first of its kind with sound barriers along an interstate corridor in the United States.

“Through the Leading by Example Program, the Baker-Polito Administration is supporting innovative and cost-effective solar projects at state facilities, leading to emissions reductions and advancing clean energy adoption,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Working across state facilities and partnering with our institutions of higher education will lead to energy solutions and cost savings while helping the Commonwealth achieve its long-term clean energy and climate goals.”

“In celebration of Climate Week here in the Commonwealth, it’s important that we highlight the Leading by Example projects our state agencies and campuses are implementing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower operating costs,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Patrick Woodcock. “These solar grants will aid MassDOT and other state institutions in their ongoing efforts to create a cleaner, more affordable, and healthier place to live and work.”

“MassDOT is glad to be a part of celebrating Climate Week and the Leading by Example initiative,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver.“These grants are another step towards the Commonwealth’s goal to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions and establish clean energy policies.”

The Transportation Center project also includes eight single-port electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and technologies designed to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including air source heat pumps to provide heating and cooling, LED lighting, daylight harvesting, building automation systems, super insulated and air-tight envelope design, triple glazed curtain wall and windows, and solar shading devices.

Furthermore, almost $800,000 in additional grants were awarded to Bridgewater State University, Cape Cod Community College, and Pioneer Valley Transit Authority. Those grants include:

Bridgewater State University received a $261,000 grant for a 367 kW solar canopy at the campus’ Swenson Parking Lot that is estimated to generate 400,000 kWh of clean electricity annually and result in $850,000 in savings over 20 years through reduced electricity costs as part of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a 3rd party solar developer. In addition, Bridgewater State is installing several rooftop solar arrays across campus along with a new dual-port EV charging station.

Cape Cod Community College (CCCC) received a $170,000 a grant for a 635 kW third party-owned solar canopy at its Lot 12 parking area that will accompany a rooftop solar array at the newly constructed science center building being overseen by the Division of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance (DCAMM). The College aspires to ensure this behind-the-meter solar project will generate clean power equivalent to 100% of the modeled building consumption. The canopy system is expected to generate 390,000 kWh of electricity annually and result in $940,000 in electricity cost savings over 20 years as part of the College’s PPA with a 3rd party solar developer. This project includes 2 dual-port EV charging stations.

Pioneer Valley Regional Transit Authority (PVTA) received a $357,300 grant for a 1,033 kW rooftop solar array with a 557 kW battery energy storage system at its Cottage Street Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility in Springfield. The system is estimated to generate 1,197,000 kWh of electricity annually and save approximately $1.7 million in electricity cost savings over 20 years as part of PVTA’s PPA with a 3rd party solar developer.

Leading by Example works collaboratively with state agencies and public colleges and universities to advance clean energy and sustainable practices that reduce the environmental impacts of state government operations. DOER’s Leading by Example Clean Energy Solar Grant Program for state entities has helped to increase the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at state facilities, particularly solar canopies and innovative solar technologies, by ensuring that these projects are cost-effective. Since 2014, $7,395,780 in LBE solar grants have supported the installation of 18 MW of solar at state facilities, leading to an estimated $40 million in electricity cost savings over 20 years. These projects are expected to generate approximately 21.8 million kWh of clean energy annually, equivalent to the electricity use of 2,808 Massachusetts homes. Through the grant program requirements, over 100 electric vehicle charging ports have also been installed. The program is funded by alternative compliance payments.

On April 22, 2021, the Baker-Polito Administration signed Executive Order No. 594, which sets goals and requirements that will accelerate the decarbonization of fuels used to heat and cool state facilities, help to demonstrate new technologies and strategies necessary to meet the Commonwealth’s energy goals, and quicken the shift to electric heating and vehicles. By leading by example in these and other areas, state government can help guide the Commonwealth toward a cleaner future.

As part of Leading by Example efforts, state entities have collectively reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 35%, reduced heating oil use by 85%, eliminating more than 22 million gallons of fuel oil, and reduced energy use per square foot by 14% from a 2004 baseline. As of August 2021, state entities have installed 248 electric vehicle charging stations, deployed more than 29 MW of solar PV, created 42 new pollinator-friendly habitats, and constructed 95 LEED Certified buildings, 62 of which achieved a Gold or Platinum rating. For more information on LBE, please visit the LBE website.

During this year’s Climate Week in Massachusetts, the Baker-Polito Administration is highlighting its commitment to reducing emissions, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and building a more resilient Commonwealth. Throughout Climate Week, the Administration is holding events to spotlight important initiatives including offshore wind, land protection and conservation, the Greening the Gateway Cities program, and the expansion of clean energy in the Commonwealth. The Administration is also highlighting the urgent demand for funding to support climate resiliency in Massachusetts, and Governor Baker’s plan to immediately put to use part of Commonwealth’s direct federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support critical priorities in cities and towns. The Administration’s plan would commit $900 million to key energy and environmental initiatives, including $400 million to modernize critical water infrastructure and $300 million to support local climate resilience projects.

On March 26, 2021, Governor Baker signed comprehensive climate change legislation that enshrined the Administration’s target of Net Zero emissions by 2050 into law, significantly increased protections for Environmental Justice communities across Massachusetts, and authorized the Commonwealth to procure an additional 2,400 Megawatts (MW) of clean, reliable offshore wind energy by 2027. In September 2016, Governor Baker signed Executive Order 569 which lays out a comprehensive approach to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth. In April 2021, the Administration announced it had achieved its goal of investing $1 billion in climate change mitigation in adaptation since 2015 through programs like the nation-leading Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program, which has now enrolled 93 percent of cities and towns in Massachusetts.

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