UMass Amherst gets $500,000 for solar projects

  • (PRNewsFoto/Innovative Solar Systems)

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a $500,000 grant for a solar energy project from the state Department of Energy Resources.

The grant will go toward a 4.5-megawatt solar array at two university parking lots, as well as two electric vehicle charging stations, according to a statement from UMass. The University of Massachusetts Lowell received a $150,660 grant for similar projects.

“We share an understanding of the importance of energy conservation in preserving the health of our planet and our economy for the good of all citizens,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in the statement. “As the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, UMass Amherst is committed to working with the administration, the Legislature and private partners to demonstrate that large-scale alternative energy projects are not only possible, but practical for our campus and beyond.”

The array will feature solar canopies, which use solar panels to create covered parking lots.

“These solar canopy projects will add to the sizable number of solar installations at state facilities, all of which are helping to save taxpayer dollars and generate clean, renewable power,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton said in the statement.

The Department of Energy Resources provides these grants through its Leading by Example program, which has awarded more than $1.4 million for solar canopy projects at state agencies and colleges. By the end of 2016, the program will have funded more than six megawatts of solar canopy systems and 17 electric vehicle charging stations.

“I am so proud of the university’s commitment to renewable energy and green building design. I am grateful beyond words to DOER for supporting the university’s ambitious solar project,” Rep. Ellen Story, D-Amherst, said in a statement. “This grant is evidence that when it comes to solar adoption, the entire Amherst community leads by example.”

The program is funded from alternative compliance payment funds paid by electric retail suppliers if they do not meet the state’s renewable energy standards.