Springfield, Massachusetts, Takes Steps Toward Going Green with Solar Power

ma solar power

Solar panels are scheduled to adorn the top of schools and municipal buildings throughout Springfield, MA to help the city save on energy costs.

Cities across the U.S.A. are struggling to keep their budgets balanced.  The rising cost of energy is just one of many issues that municipalities in America are dealing with.  City governments which take the long view and invest in solar power as a way to reduce energy costs are smart, rare, and forward-thinking; and Springfield, Massachusetts, is one of those visionary cities.

As a part of an effort to both reduce costs and improve energy efficiency, the City of Springfield has recently put a MA solar power pilot program into place.  Solar energy units are scheduled to be installed on eight municipal building rooftops.

This summer the pilot program received a strong showing of advance interest, including healthy signs of competitive bidding.  The city’s chief development officer, Kevin E. Kennedy, spoke highly of the turnout.  He also said that one of the hopes is to continue expanding and eventually add solar panels to additional municipal buildings.

Other expectations that Kennedy expressed included that using solar power will equate to taxpayer savings and demonstrate that Springfield is an energy-efficient, well-run city.  He indicated that the city is attempting to find every cost savings available for taxpayers.

Three schools are targeted as part of the pilot solar program, those being Kiley Middle School, Central High, and Kennedy Middle School.  Solar panels will also be installed on the Public Works building on Tapley Street and at Cyr Arena at Forest Park.

There are also some smaller MA solar power projects proposed by the city, including solar hot water units at:
•    Raymond Sullivan Public Safety Complex on Carew Street;
•    Fire Alarm Headquarters on Roosevelt Avenue; and
•    Fire Department headquarters on Worthington Street.

Another site slated for solar power is a closed landfill on Stafford Street which covers five acres.

solar farm

The existing 12-acre lot contains over 8,000 solar panels and produces over 2.3 megawatts of power in Indian Orchards.

Springfield’s pilot solar program isn’t the first move toward energy efficiency in the city.  A 2.3-megawatt MA solar power station was constructed on Goodwin Street in Indian Orchard at the former Chapman Valve site.  Kennedy said that the Indian Orchard project proved the value of switching to solar energy.

In preparing to receive bids for the solar project, city officials prepared information about the condition and age of the roofs, along with photographs.  Some of the targeted roofs are new and some are older.  Potential bidders will be able to visit the sites before placing their bids.  The city is also checking to see if some of the roofs need to be replaced, which may be the case for Central High School and the Public Works building.

City officials are devoted to taking care of all of the details involved with bringing the vision for solar energy to pass.  And if they come across bumps in the road along their journey, they may be able to draw from experiences of other municipalities which have taken bold steps to switch to solar.

San Francisco, California, for example has been a leader in going solar.  The city has provided alluring incentives for citizens to begin investing in solar energy.  In addition, the city passed a $100 million bond initiative which was applied toward rewarding home owners that pursue renewable energy sources.

Another city that Springfield could draw inspiration from is Flagstaff, Arizona, which takes a proactive approach to helping homeowners deal with the upfront costs of installing solar panels.

MA solar powerWhether installing solar PV panels on municipal buildings or providing enticing incentives for homeowners and businesses to switch to renewable energy, cities like Springfield are proactive about contributing to cleaner air and energy independence. If you live in the Springfield area and are thinking about taking advantage of MA solar power as well, contact Higgins Solar Store for experienced solar store professionals in Barre, MA with all of your questions and to move forward with your solar project.


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