Fall River Mayor and Ameresco mark completion of solar panel installations
Ameresco, Inc., an energy efficiency and renewable energy company, has joined with Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan to recognize the completion of the first phase of a multi-phase energy efficiency initiative and renewable energy project. During a ribbon-cutting ceremony, attendees gathered at Frank M. Silvia Elementary School to view the recently installed solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generating system. Similar systems have been installed on two other Fall River schools and outside of the City’s water treatment plant.
“Fall River’s solar energy investments are a significant contribution to Massachusetts’ clean energy revolution, which aims to reach Governor Patrick’s goal of installing 250 megawatts of solar energy by 2017. We’re already in the midst of a 40-fold increase in solar installations,” said Mark Sylvia, commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources. “Adopting renewable energy keeps more municipal energy dollars in the community, employs clean energy workers, and provides a technological and scientific energy learning tool for Fall River students.”
During the event, the Mayor also highlighted the completion of the first phase of a comprehensive Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC), expected to save the City more than $2.7 million in energy savings over the life of the contract. The contract work also is expected to reduce Fall River’s carbon footprint by 25.8 million lbs. of carbon dioxide over the contract term.
The ESPC incorporated a $650,000 federal grant, and will include the installation of more than 3,400 energy efficient light fixtures in two City schools and the Government Center with no capital cost contribution from the City’s budget. Additionally, the initiative includes a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the City for Ameresco to design, build, own, operate and maintain four solar PV electricity generating systems.
As part of the first phase of the project, Ameresco designed and built four photovoltaic systems for the City. The combination of all the systems totals 2,624 solar modules for a rating of 576 kW. As part of its PPA with Ameresco, the City of Fall River will buy the power at a lower rate than it currently pays for electricity, and that rate will be fixed for 20 years.
As part of the solar installations, Ameresco deployed several educational tools for the students including a large-screen LCD television in the lobby of the schools that will display real-time performance and measures of the solar PV panels’ associated environmental benefits. The company also established a dedicated web page for an online display of the rooftop weather station data and solar PV electricity output for use by students and teachers.
Ameresco will now move into additional phases of the ESPC, which is a budget-neutral way to reduce energy use and associated costs, and renew facilities and building systems without burdening shrinking capital budgets. Ameresco guarantees a minimum level of energy savings to the City of Fall River over the term of the contract and that the cash inflows from the project will exceed its cash requirements, offsetting the costs of these improvements.