Boston’s New Photovoltaic Friendship

A wonderful solar friendship has formed recently between a business trio seeking to improve their carbon stamp on the world. They wanted energy from a solar panel installation, but they knew they couldn’t go it alone.

This great union formed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation and Boston Medical Center will show the world how businesses can partner to accomplish their goals.

The businesses have agreed to buy a percentage of solar energy from their own solar power installation called Summit Farms. Boston Medical will take 26% for its buildings while POS will buy 1%.

MIT, on the other hand, will purchase much of the solar farm’s energy all by itself, a hefty 73%! Through this agreement, the college will gain almost half of its electricity from solar power, a huge step for a college to make. MIT will buy one of the largest percentages of solar energy ever proclaimed by an American college.

Solar Farm in Action

Because these businesses will share the load of solar energy, they couldn’t use rooftop solar panels. Instead, they have planned their own solar farm that will span 650 acres of North Carolina farmland. Summit Farms will need a vast array of solar panels to produce enough energy, totaling over 250,000 panels.

With its 60-megawatt output, this project finds acclaim as the largest ever built by a business alliance. The businesses won’t wait long for their power, either. They will receive energy from Summit Farms before 2017.

A project this size doesn’t just form casually. All three businesses discussed an energy solution through their membership with A Better City. They negotiated this agreement led by CustomerFirst Renewables, and they left the building of Summit Farms in the capable hands of the Virginia energy company Dominion. Dominion will ultimately own the farm.

Reaching Their Goals

The biggest reason for such a union between these three businesses lies in carbon emissions. They are bringing themselves together to lessen their pollution in the city.

Both MIT and BMC have previously committed to decreasing their carbon emissions. By 2030, MIT wants a rate 32% less than their carbon production in 2014, and this solar agreement will leap across half this goal. MIT expects the project to lower their carbon rates by 17%!

According to the college’s Office of Sustainability Director Julie Newman, MIT will monitor their improvements live with numbers from Summit Farms. They will also compare their data with solar power installations on their own local buildings.

The college is also working toward the rest of their 32% goal. They plan to install more efficient windows and analyze their electric plant for improved efficiency. They may look into solar power installations on their own rooftops as well. All of these combined efforts will provide MIT with at least 26% less carbon, quickly bridging the gap in their goal.

For Boston Medical, the center is striving for at least a 50% cut by 2018.

BMC has already taken steps toward their goal, improving their heating and cooling systems and composting their food. Since they agreed to further their cause with this solar project, Boston Medical may even neutralize their carbon output by 2018!

The Project’s Best Option

When looking into different areas for the project, the businesses considered over 40 locations. They eventually settled on land in North Carolina for several reasons. Building a solar power installation there would mean placing construction in hands already familiar with such a project.

They would also have bigger facilities and more land than a project local to the Boston area. Plus, the project would actually reduce more carbon if built in North Carolina since this state uses mainly coal. By erecting the farm there and attaching it to the power grid, the area would have a chance to replace some of its coal production with renewable energy.

Overall, this solar power installation will purge the US of carbon by nearly 120,000 metric tons. Imagine over 25,000 fewer cars smoking its pollution into the air, and you’ll realize the scope of this carbon-reducing project!

The best part is that these businesses have dedicated 25 years to buying energy from Summit Farms. Thanks to this solar project, Boston and North Carolina will enjoy cleaner air and energy for several decades.

Who knows, maybe other businesses will follow suit, creating a greener America all around! It definitely sounds like the beginning of a beautiful solar friendship.


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