Back by popular demand, the Photovoltaic (PV) Project of Distinction Award was presented on 23rd, June by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) during the General Session at PV America (PVA) in Boston. The award celebrates major achievements within the solar industry, specifically within the Northeast region of the U.S.
The call for submissions took place earlier this year which gave project representatives an opportunity to give a detailed description of the scope of the project and how it would positively impact the solar marketplace within the region. Eligible projects were required to be completed, including all installation, between January 2013 and March 2014. Many submissions were received and 21 finalists were chosen to participate at the event.
Four winners were announced by Rhone Resch, President & CEO, SEIA and Julia Hamm, President & CEO, SEPA, as attendees convened for the General Session. The winners are: Mount Saint Mary's Abbey Solar Farm, Scituate Solar I, Advanced Microgrid Deployed at GM's E-Motor Plant and Plymouth Public Schools.
Mount Saint Mary's Abbey Solar Farm:
The solar farm, implemented in two phases at the end of 2013 in Massachusetts is now providing over 80% of the yearly electricity consumed by the host town of Franklin, MA. Prior to the installation, the 600 acres owned by Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey was dedicated to farming. With changing times and the rise of technology, the sisters decided to create a plan to help the town: a Harvest of the Sun. The development resulted in two separate fixed tilt ground-mounted PV projects, the first 3.6 MW DC. The second provided an additional 4.8 MW DC.
Scituate Solar I:
By commissioning a 3.0MW solar farm atop a capped landfill in Scituate, MA, Scituate Solar I has helped in the creation of the U.S.’s first town fully powered by renewable energy. The project, completed in October 2013, now produces 3,750,000 kWh’s of energy annually, enough to power approximately 331 average homes and is equivalent to displacing 6,733 barrels of oil. The project has given light to innovative solutions for capped landfill sites and Brownfields, an increasing problem in the US. Read about this history-making project online.
Advanced Microgrid Deployed at GM's E-Motor Plant:
The completion of this project in White Marsh, Maryland has resulted in clean energy for GM’s E-motor plant, used by its employees and visitors daily. To reach the end result, the team, comprised of GM, TimberRock Energy Solutions and OnStar, had to devise a plan for this microgrid based on a somewhat novel design. It included the integration of complex components including a 30kWh li-ion battery, bi-directional inverters, and a fleet of Chevy Volts with V2G capability via the OnStar Network. As well as 580kW PV array, a parking lot canopy with 25 kW of solar PV and 6 EV charging stations. An in-depth look at this project is available online in their Case Study.
Plymouth Public Schools:
Another project completed in Massachusetts is the vast solar array completed by Plymouth Public Schools (PPS) which has 13 facilities, 8,000 students per year and 1,350 employees. The original plan consisted of 8-10 smaller solar arrays across the district’s facilities, but old roof structures and harsh winters prevented that plan from coming to fruition, so they opted to create a large farm on private land. The 5.7MW farm was completed in October 2013 and now provides the school district with much of the electricity needed throughout the year. Gary Costin, Business Administrator for PPS, believes the solar farm will save the school district $400,000 in the first year, as explained on the project’s website.