Monitoring, Solar

PV System to Power Woods Hole Research Center

Northern Power Systems has been commissioned to complete the design and installation of a photovoltaic (PV) system at the world’s leading environmental research and policy institution, The Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

WAITSFIELD, Vermont – July 1, 2002 [] The new, 26.4 kW PV array and monitoring system will provide green power to the organization’s Ordway campus, a new sustainable research facility currently under development. The Ordway campus, designed by leading architectural firm McDonough + Partners, which specializes in environmentally sensitive buildings, is expected to generate its own electrical requirements, as well as the energy needed for heating and cooling the facility. Northern’s PV system will enable the research center to generate almost 37,000 kWh of electricity annually, making it the one of New England’s few “totally green-powered” facilities. The Ordway Campus will be converted from a summer home to an energy-independent scientific headquarters. The center has already conducted extensive studies of methods of energy conservation, and has investigated existing and developing technologies suitable for creating an energy-producing facility. The building will produce all of its energy from renewable sources without fossil fuels. Additionally, the building will include a thermal ground source heat pump. It is intended that the building will produce more energy than it uses, but will remain connected to the electrical grid, which will serve as a battery to be used when renewable sources are inadequate for satisfying short term energy needs. WHRC has established an aggressive annual energy consumption target of 75,000 kWh/yr, which is 84 percent less than the average amount needed for a building of this size. “Buildings use nearly two-thirds of all electricity consumed in the United States,” said Jito Coleman, Northern Power Systems’ Chief Executive Officer. “Constructing green buildings will help reduce the strain on current resources and maximize the use of clean, Renewable Energy. By working with Northern Power, Woods Hole Research Center, one of the greatest environmental authorities in the world, is recognizing our superior capabilities to build clean, energy-efficient systems.” The project was funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s Green Buildings Program, the state’s development agency for Renewable Energy. The MTC, which manages the US$150 million Renewable Energy Trust, launched the US$14.6 million Green Buildings Initiative in May by making grants available on a competitive basis to spur construction of buildings that conserve energy and produce electricity from green sources. The Renewable Energy Trust is an essential part of the state’s strategy to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources by encouraging the use of renewable technologies. The Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) addresses the great issues of environment through scientific research and education and through applications of science in public affairs. Climate change and the warming of the Earth are at the core of the center’s research with special attention to global forests because of their controlling influence on climate. The center maintains continuing research projects in the tropical rainforest of Brazil, in the boreal forest of Siberia and in the forests of New England.