Modest Solar Array Kicks off Ambitious Solar Effort

The City of Brockton has unveiled its newest renewable energy project: a 2.4 kW solar power project on the roof of Brockton High School. Granted it’s not a big project, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg for solar developments in this town.

Brockton, Massachusetts – September 20, 2004 [] The high school project is part of a larger effort, the “Brockton Solar Champions Partnership”, which is funded by a US Department of Energy “Million Solar Roofs” grant. This partnership seeks to put Brockton in the forefront of solar energy through the development of a one MW solar power plant on a reclaimed EPA Brownfield site, called a “Brightfield.” Additionally, there will be an installation of an additional 100 kW of rooftop solar citywide, including on the high school. Brockton Mayor John T. Yunits was joined by representatives from the Brockton School Department, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), the U.S. Department of Energy, Evergreen Solar, Inc., and Conservation Services Group (CSG), as well as other city dignitaries, in ceremonies unveiling the system. “This project is just the first in a series that will make Brockton a regional leader in the use of clean, renewable energy,” said the town’s Mayor John T. Yunits. “By using solar on roofs all over the city and turning an empty, blighted piece of property into a ‘solar energy park,’ the Solar Champions project will place Brockton among a select few cities in the U.S. to really focus on providing green power solutions.” The high school’s science department will use the installation as a “living laboratory” to teach students about solar power, and will integrate a renewable energy curriculum being developed into classroom instruction. The site will also be featured on an MTC web site. The Brockton High School installation features 24 Evergreen Solar panels which will generate about 3000 kWh per year of electricity or enough to power the science lab classroom. Installation services and a data acquisition system with weather station were provided by CSG Services, Inc. The Brightfield project, in comparison, will include thousands of solar panels that will span the 27-acre site. Construction is expected to begin next spring. When completed, it will add one full MW of installed capacity of clean energy into the local electricity grid, and will generate approximately 1,200,000 kWh per year of electricity, enough to power about 120 homes. It is expected to be New England’s largest solar array. MTC’s Board of Directors authorized $1.04 million in grant funding from the state’s Renewable Energy Trust to help purchase and install this solar system adding to significant local investment by the city of Brockton. Partial funding for the high school project was provided by MTC through MIT’s Community Solar Power Initiative. The MIT initiative will be used as pilots for demonstration, research, and educational purposes. “Expanding the use of solar power will increase our energy independence, help create more jobs, and lead to a cleaner environment,” said Renewable Energy Trust Director Rob Pratt. “And, most importantly, we will be educating the next generation in the use and benefits of renewable energy.” The Brockton Solar Partnership’s program will use funding from the MTC, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as other resources tapped by public and private partners, including the Brockton 21st Century Corporation, a non-profit economic development agency. Plans include the use of aggregation, bulk purchasing, and creative financing to reduce capital costs of solar to enable businesses, local agencies, and families to purchase systems for their homes.
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