University News

Gov. Baker Visits UMass to Celebrate Official Opening of Clean-energy Projects

Just days after announcing plans to power the flagship campus with 100% renewable energy by 2032, UMass Amherst marked the completion of its 4-MW solar canopy and 1-MW lithium-ion battery storage system with a ceremony attended by Gov. Charlie Baker and other state officials.

Both clean-energy projects, which benefited from strategic state funding, allow the university to effectively use the renewable energy generated on campus while also providing resiliency and peak demand management. Besides adding to the over 28 MW of solar PV currently installed at state facilities, the solar canopy installation includes two new electric-vehicle charging stations with pre-wiring for eight more. The battery storage system, completed in 2019, is located adjacent to the Central Heating Plant. The battery supports the campus to effectively use the renewable energy generated onsite while also providing resiliency and peak demand management.

“Massachusetts continues to make great strides in advancing clean energy solutions through the installation of innovative technologies like these here at UMass that will further our efforts in achieving the state’s climate goals,” said Baker. “Supporting the clean energy industry today is more important than ever, which is why we were proud to propose the FORWARD Act to provide $750 million in investments to the sector and assist in the advancement of innovation, research, and technology.”

“We are deeply grateful to the commitment of the Baker-Polito administration for their investment in our clean-energy technologies,” Subbaswamy said. “These state-funded initiatives play a critical role as we move to fully convert campus operations to renewable energy. We will continue to do all we can to partner with the commonwealth as it works to achieve net zero carbon emissions.”

The solar canopy and storage system was partially funded by a $1.1 million grant from Department of Energy Resources (DOER) through its Leading by Example program and $1.1 million provided through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage program. 

Together the solar canopy and battery storage project will generate approximately 4,548,712 kWh of electricity per year, which will help the university become a leader of carbon mitigation efforts in the Commonwealth while educating the next generation of leaders in sustainability.

The solar canopy is estimated to provide the university with over $341,000 in average annual benefits. It is estimated that over 20 years the benefits from the combination of reduced energy costs and revenue generation will reach $6.8 million.