Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Awards Solar Energy Grants to Two University of Massachusetts Campuses

Solar Canopies at UMass Amherst and UMass Lowell Will Lower Energy Costs and Generate Clean Power
For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact

Katie Gronendyke,

Boston — July 22 , 2016 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $650,660 in funding for two solar canopy projects for the Amherst and Lowell campuses of the University of Massachusetts. The funding, awarded by the Department of Energy Resources’ Leading by Example (LBE) program, will provide $500,000 for a 4.5 MW solar array at two parking lots at UMass Amherst and $150,660 for a 200 kW system at the South Parking Garage of UMass Lowell.

“These solar canopies are a prime example of state agencies successfully working together to increase renewable energy while decreasing costs for taxpayers,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Investing in clean energy projects at state properties helps the Commonwealth continue to lead the way on clean energy, energy efficiency and the adoption of innovative technologies.”

“The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to expanding the use of renewable energy to fuel our state facilities,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “It is fitting that UMass Amherst and UMass Lowell, two of our state’s flagship public campuses, will once again be on the forefront of innovation with the Leading by Example solar canopies.”

Upon completion of both projects, solar installations at state facilities will total more than 19 MW, up from just 100 kW in 2007. The projects will also install two electric vehicle (EV) charging station at the Amherst campus and one charging station at the Lowell campus, a requirement of the Leading by Example grants. Once complete, there will be 11 charging stations on the UMass Amherst campus, including two fast chargers that can fully charge an EV to 80 percent of full capacity in just 20 minutes.

“These solar canopy projects will add to the sizeable number of solar installations at state facilities, all of which are helping to save taxpayer dollars and generate clean, renewable power,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “UMass Amherst and Lowell will receive net benefits of more than $7 million over the life of the projects, thanks to reduced electricity costs and long term contracts.”

“These grants demonstrate the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to renewable energy and to the students, faculty and staff of the University of Massachusetts,” said University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan. “The Commonwealth and UMass are both taking on leadership roles in the effort to create a better and cleaner future, and I commend Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito for this action and for everything they are doing on behalf of this critical cause.”

The canopy projects combined will generate enough electricity to power approximately 900 Massachusetts homes each year. The UMass Amherst canopies will be a privately financed and constructed system features a long-term energy contract that provides the campuses with a known rate of electricity over 20 years, helping to stabilize energy costs and result in savings of more than $6 million over the life of the contract. UMass Lowell will finance, own and operate its solar array, receiving the full benefit of electricity savings, which will reduce the campuses energy costs by roughly $1 million over 20 years.

The LBE Solar Canopy Grant Program has awarded more than $1.4 million for solar canopy projects at state agencies and colleges, which will result in the installation of more than 6 MW of solar canopy systems by the end of 2016. Additionally, 17 EV charging stations will be installed as part of these projects and other LBE efforts.

“By entering into partnerships to install a total of 4.7 MW of solar at both campuses, Massachusetts is making a clear commitment to continue our proud tradition of leading by example,” said DOER Commissioner Judith Judson. “These innovative installations showcase a prudent fiscal model for solar development at state facilities.”

The grant program is funded from Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) funds. ACP funds are paid by electric retail suppliers if they have insufficient Renewable or Alternative Energy Certificates to meet their compliance obligations under the Renewable and Alternative Portfolio Standard programs.

“This grant will increase the use of renewable energy for UMass and reduce the carbon footprint of the University. I thank the Baker administration for continuing their commitment to our clean energy future,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “If we are going to continue to lead the nation in solar energy production the state must set an example by adding installations like this to our state facilities.”

“Congratulations to UMass Lowell on winning a Leading by Example grant for its new solar canopy,” said State Senator Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell). “The legislature has been working to create energy policies that benefit the environment without increasing costs, and this project shows that it’s possible. Smart investments in renewable energy can help us reduce both our energy bills and our greenhouse gas emissions.”

“I would like to thank Commissioner Judson, Secretary Beaton, and Governor Baker for their continual support of Umass Lowell and the incredible work they are doing at the University,” said State Representative Rady Mom (D-Lowell). This grant will help UML diversify its energy portfolio as well as continue its work as a statewide leader in adopting the best and most efficient technology for its facilities. I look forward to seeing UML implement the project and continue the partnership between the University and State government.”

“I am so proud of the University’s commitment to renewable energy and green building design. I am grateful beyond words to DOER for supporting the University’s ambitious solar project,” said State Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst). “This grant is evidence that when it comes to solar adoption, the entire Amherst community leads by example.”

“I am very pleased that the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, along with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will be receiving this grant for solar panel canopies through the Leading by Example program,” said State Representative David Nangle (D-Lowell). “I am certain that this will set a further example of how the State Office of Energy Resources and the universities can successfully collaborate to develop new and innovative energy technologies that will be both cost effective and protect the environment.”

“This is a great opportunity for UMass Lowell to transform underutilized space on a parking garage roof into a large-scale solar canopy that realizes financial and environmental benefits for the university,” said State Representative Thomas A. Golden Jr. (D-Lowell). “This will further build on the school’s successful Accelerated Energy Program, which aims to increase energy efficiency across the UMass Lowell campuses.”

The Leading by Example (LBE) program at the Department of Energy Resources works with state agencies to meet specific targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, energy consumption reduction and renewable energy installations. Since 2007, state agencies have made significant progress, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent, generating 20 percent of electricity demand from onsite renewable and combined heat and power systems, and reducing heating oil use by 78 percent.



Media Contact

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. Through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources, and enhancement of clean energy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs works tirelessly to make Massachusetts a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.


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