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I-91 solar array powers up

The new solar array atop MassDOT’s District 2 Highway Division administration building on North King Street in Northampton is now in service, providing up to one-third of the building’s power.

This is the first time any state agency has used state highway layout to construct a clean-energy generation facility. One other municipal facility exists on state highway layout in the town of Carver.

MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey, Rep. Peter Kocot, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz and other state and local officials gathered there Wednesday for a “switching on” ceremony.

Davey termed the array, which has space for future expansion, a “milestone” in the way the state thinks about and uses its transportation assets. The project, he said, is an example of the ongoing search for ways to reduce costs, save money and improve customer experience.

Construction of the solar array began on Aug. 23 and finished on Oct. 31, and was done at no upfront cost to taxpayers.

The project’s contractor, JF White, funded construction in exchange for earning Solar Renewable Energy Credits, which accrue as the facility generates power and can be sold and traded on the open market.

“We love that this array is so highly visible to the general public at a primary Northampton entrance,” said Narkewicz. As part of the project, the building has been outfitted with equipment with the capability of switching between the solar array and the power grid.

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