Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Awards Solar Grant to Salem State University

Projects Add to Existing Solar Capacity at State Facilities
For immediate release:
  • Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Solar Grant to Salem State University

Jessica Ridlen, Communications Director, Mass DOER

Salem The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $193,500 in funding to Salem State University (SSU) for the installation of three rooftop solar systems totaling 387-kilowatts (kW). The solar installations, located at the Berry Library, Marsh Hall, and Gassett Fitness Center, are estimated to save SSU $28,500 in annual electricity costs and generate 439,000 kWh of electricity through a 20-year third party power purchase agreement with no upfront cost to Salem State University. This grant marks the first award under the $5 million solar grant program launched earlier this year by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to encourage solar development at state entities.

“Our administration is investing in solar development at state entities because expanding solar infrastructure using our existing state assets is a prime opportunity to maximize our renewable energy generation, lower emissions and reduce costs,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Commonwealth’s public colleges and universities continue to go the extra mile to support Massachusetts’ clean energy leadership and these projects at Salem State University will benefit the environment and save money, while the campus leads by example for its students and the surrounding community.”

“Our administration is proud to provide the necessary resources for state facilities and colleges to invest in cost-effective, clean energy solutions,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.  “Through the Leading by Example Program, these facilities are able to become more sustainable while contributing to our shared energy reduction goals.”

These projects will reduce the university’s electricity costs for the portion of electricity generated by these solar arrays by approximately 45 percent from about $0.14 per kWh to $0.08 per kWh. The Leading by Example Solar Grant will increase Salem State’s 20 year savings by an estimated $207,000, resulting in total 20-year savings of $543,000.

“I commend Salem State University for their environmental leadership and commitment to reduce our collective energy use,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton. “This grant is a win-win that will allow the school to operate more efficiently while reducing expenses.”

“DOER is proud to partner with state colleges and universities to reduce the Commonwealth’s energy costs, usage and emissions,” said Commissioner Judith Judson. “DOER’s Leading by Example program continues to provide our partner agencies the tools they need to remain on the cutting edge of clean energy innovation and contribute to our ambitious clean energy goals.”

“As an alumna and as Mayor of Salem I’m so pleased that Salem State University has received this grant to carry out these important projects,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. “Our community takes our obligation to reduce our local contribution to global climate change seriously and these projects represent one more major step toward accomplishing that critical work.”

“As an alumna of Salem State University, I am proud that the school is stepping up and leading on green energy,” said State Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem). “The imperative to combat climate change grows increasingly more urgent, and I am thankful that the Commonwealth is supporting important initiatives like this one that will allow our public institutions to build more clean energy infrastructure.”

“I commend the Baker-Polito administration for this strategic investment which not only pays dividends in terms of cost savings, but also signals a continued commitment to our environment and the use of renewable energy,” said State Representative Paul Tucker (D-Salem). “It’s particularly meaningful at Salem State University to demonstrate to the next generation of leaders on campus the value of saving money and the environment which can be accomplished together.”

The solar installations add to a wide-ranging campus sustainability initiative, which includes an existing 216 kW of solar, four electric vehicle charging stations, five buildings certified by the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, an EPA award-winning compost program, and 22% reduction in campus water use from 2014 to 2017.

“We are grateful for this significant investment from the state, which will triple the amount of solar power we have on our campus,” said Salem State University President John Keenan. “Salem State has proudly signed on to Second Nature’s Presidents’ Climate Commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050, and these solar installations are critical as we work toward that goal. Advancing our sustainability goals is not only the right thing to do for our planet, but it also supports our efforts to contain costs for our students.”

The Leading by Example Program works collaboratively with state agencies to meet specific targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, energy consumption reduction and renewable energy procurements. Since 2007, state agencies and public higher education campuses have made significant progress, including collectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent, generating 20 percent of electricity demand from onsite renewable and combined heat and power sources, installing 23 megawatts of solar capacity, reducing heating oil use by 84 percent, and installing 119 electric vehicle charging stations.

Massachusetts was recently named the most energy efficient state in the nation by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) for the eighth consecutive year. Massachusetts continues to receive top marks for its energy efficiency policies and programs, which are supported by DOER’s Leading by Example program, which facilitates the deployment of large scale energy efficiency and clean energy projects at state facilities. In addition, this project will be one of the first solar installations at a state facility to participate in the Commonwealth’s recently announced Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, estimated to result in an additional 1,600 MW of installed solar.

Funding for these grants is available through proceeds from Alternative Compliance Payments (ACP) paid by retail electric suppliers that do not meet their Renewable Portfolio Standard compliance obligations through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates.


Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Solar Grant to Salem State University

Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources 

DOER helps create a clean, affordable, and resilient energy future for the Commonwealth.