The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has announced its second round of resilience program awards, and once again, the results are extraordinary.

In the first round of the $40 million Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative, DOER awarded $7.4 million for six municipal projects, of which three included solar + storage.  DOER also made 27 technical assistance grants to help municipalities prepare project proposals for round 2.

In round 2, DOER awarded $18.5 million to 15 municipal resiliency projects, two-thirds of which incorporate solar + storage.  

The round 2 projects include:

Cambridge: Battery storage with a 170kW solar PV system to support a drinking water treatment plant during short grid outages, and the Water and Electrical Department offices, the water laboratory, and the municipal emergency operations center during longer outages.

Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative: 1,356 kW solar PV with 512kW battery backup to supply resilient power to the Dennis Yarmouth Regional High School, a regional emergency shelter that also serves as a food preparation and distribution center for the community.  The battery would also be used to reduce demand charges through peak load shedding at the school during regular, non-emergency operation.

Greenfield: Battery storage paired with a 207kW solar PV installation at the local high school. Currently, the back-up power at the site is supplied by diesel generators that will operate for 2-3 days, but recent severe weather events have resulted in power outages lasting up to one week.  The high school provides emergency shelter and services to the town’s growing elderly and high-needs populations.

Holyoke: Solar PV plus batteries will be installed at three different project sites to provide resilient power for 100% load for up to three days. The fire headquarters will receive a 53 kW photovoltaic system and a 300 kWh battery bank, which will run in combination with an existing backup generator. Mt. Tom Tower, the emergency communications tower for the city, will receive a small PV system, a small wind turbine, and a 200 kWh battery. And the Dean School, a community shelter, will receive a 600 kW PV array with a 483 kWh battery bank, which will run in combination with an existing back-up generator.

Medford: The city will install solar PV with battery storage at the Department of Public Works and at the Andrews School, along with islanding equipment at each site.

Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Beverly: The city will install a 232kW PV array with 77kWh of battery storage, which will power four critical facilities at the Beverly Cache Site in the event of a power outage. This site serves as a Regional Equipment Cache for the Northeast Massachusetts Homeland Security Region, as the location of the Beverly, MA Civil Defense Department, and as the home base of Massachusetts Task Force 1, one of the nation's 28 FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Teams.

Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Wayland: Islanding capability and advanced switches will be installed at Wayland Middle School, a regional shelter, to augment a proposed PV carport.  This would allow solar to decrease the burden on the diesel back-up generator during a grid outage. Battery storage may be added at a future date.

Northampton: 
The city will construct a microgrid with on-site renewable generation and battery storage to serve three high priority emergency facilities: the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, the Department of Public Works, and Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

Sterling: Battery storage will be added to increase the resiliency of Sterling’s solar microgrid, providing resilient power to critical services at the police station and dispatch center. The battery array will also be used daily to provide real-time demand response, frequency regulation services, and off-peak to on-peak load shifting.

In addition, DOER awarded grants to Barnstable for a CHP system to support the Barnstable Intermediate School (a public shelter), to Boston for a CHP system to support the Boston Medical Center and a nearby emergency communications structure, and to the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District for CHP units and anaerobic digesters to provide resilient power to the wastewater treatment plant.

These projects will bring real benefits to communities all over Massachusetts.  In future severe storms, when the electric grid goes down, the people in these communities will be able to rely on emergency services provided by facilities equipped with clean, resilient power systems.

Clean Energy Group is proud to have supported Massachusetts DOER in their resilient power program, and looks forward to continuing to work with DOER in the coming years.

For information on the first-round DOER grants, visit the Community Clean Energy Resiliency webpage.