MassDOT Solar Energy Projects

Projects initiated under the MassDOT solar energy program.

Public and Private Partnership

MassDOT utilizes the public & private partnership business model to install the program. The awarded contractor leases pre-approved MassDOT properties for the solar facilities. MassDOT purchases power from the developer at fixed rates for the duration of the lease. The developer keeps all solar power generation incentives and MassDOT keeps all net metering credits.

This arrangement allows the state to benefit financially in multiple ways:

  • Zero upfront capital cost for the state
  • Full utilization of federal tax incentives through the private partner
  • A favorable electricity rate schedule for the contract period
  • Energy savings through net metering
  • Lease revenue for the developer’s use of state properties

Northampton Pilot Project

The Northampton solar pilot project sits on a parcel 90 feet from the Highway District 2 administrative building along Route I-91. The system consists of 325 solar panels with a total rated output of 80 kW DC and started producing power in November, 2012. The solar power to offset the demand of the adjacent D2 building. It currently provides for about a quarter of this D2 facility’s annual power demand.

Highway Right-of-Way Solar Project

In the summer of 2013, MassDOT issued a Request for Response to buy solar PV generation facilities at multiple parcels within the State highway layout with a minimal of 6 MW aggregated capacity.

Solar PV arrays of 6 MW capacity can generate 7,800,000 kW hours of electricity per year, which is equal to the average power consumption of 1,285 homes in Massachusetts. Replacing that amount of electricity in the current ISO-NE grid with solar power will lead to 6.8 million pounds of annual CO2 emission reduction.

MassDOT also expects considerable financial benefits from this project. We expect this project to generate over $15 million in savings over the 20-year contract period.

Project Sites

Phase I includes a total of ten parcels. Phase IA sites entered commercial operation in August and September of 2015. Phase IB sites are currently under active development for town permits and design completion. Construction at these sites will take place in the spring of 2016, pending the net metering rule making progress by the state legislature. The table below summarizes the built or planned capacity, projected power output, and CO2 reduction benefit of each site.

Phase

Location

Installed Capacity (kW DC)

Projected Annual Output (kWh)

CO2 Emission Reduction (lbs)

Number of Homes Supplied 

Project Completion

Phase IA

 

(Eversource)

Framingham I90 Interchange 13 N

649

845,647

737,404

121

September, 2015

Framingham I90 Interchange 13 S

649

845,647

737,404

121

September, 2015

Framingham I90 WB Service Plaza

318

417,216

363,812

60

August, 2015

Natick I90 WB Embankment

271

355,552

310,041

51

August, 2015

Plymouth Route 3 Exit 5

567

728,028

634,840

104

September, 2015

Phase IB

 

(National

Grid)

Salisbury, District 4 Depot

649

845,647

736,840

121

Fall, 2016 (depending on the net metering cap availability)

Stockbridge I90 @ Interlaken East 1

649

845,647

736,840

121

Stockbridge I90 @ Interlaken East 2

417

472,711

472,711

78

Stockbridge I90 @ Interlaken West

649

845,647

736,840

121

West Stockbridge I90 Exit 1

649

845,647

736,840

121

Total

5,467

7,125,967

6,213,843

1,022

 

Due to regulatory and site condition constraints, the attainable capacity of the ten sites totaled 5.47 MW DC. MassDOT and Ameresco are developing three Phase II sites. The intention is to achieve or surpass the goal of a minimal 6 MW solar PV generation capacity.

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