Sunday, September 30, 2012

Solar Panels Coming To MBTA Site In Dedham

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is one step closer to reaping the benefits of a field of solar panels at the 18-acre Readville Yard 5 in Dedham, thanks to a recent decision by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors.

On Wednesday, the board unanimously approved 20-year contract with Gehrlicher Solar America Corp. of New Jersey, that calls for the company to design, install, and maintain a solar “photovoltaic” system at both the Dedham field and the Wonderland Garage in Revere.

The MBTA has been working to increase its use of renewable energy and said that between the two sites, annual savings for electricity will be around $48,900.

In the spring, the MBTA spent nearly $4.5 million decontaminating the Dedham property and hoped that by using a solar developer such as Gehrlicher, the agency would avoid paying operating costs.

“We own the land, they’d build, install, and use their own equipment, then sell [electricity] to us,” Andrew Brennan said in March.

According to a transcript of the decision made Wednesday, the MBTA board received four bids, three of which were eligible. Then on July 10, the review committee found that Gehrlicher was the “apparent highest, responsible, and eligible bidder.”

Under the terms of the contract, the MBTA will be the only purchaser of the electricity produced at the two sites, and Gehrlicher guarantees a minimum production of at least 1.7 million kWh per year.

Construction is expected to start this fall, and once it begins, the developer has one year to complete the project and begin selling energy to the MBTA.


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