Worcester, MA is now home to New England’s largest municipally-owned solar array. The 8.1 MW solar array includes 28,600 solar panels covering 25 acres of a former landfill – that’s equivalent to 19 football fields covered with solar panels! At $69 million in 30-year lifetime savings, the Greenwood Street Solar Farm is just one of several recent energy projects for the City of Worcester.
Stemming from goals set forth in the city’s 2007 Climate Action Plan, Worcester has since achieved considerable progress in meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. In 2009, the city hired an Energy Services Company (ESCO) to perform an energy audit of municipal facilities, resulting in a 20-year, multi-million-dollar Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC). The total capital investment of $80 million is expected to save the city over $94 million in that timeframe.
To date, Worcester has completed all selected energy conservation measures (ECMs) across 92 of the city’s largest facilities. Phase I included building upgrades, such as heating and cooling systems, energy management control systems, insulation, air-sealing, lighting fixtures, and two solar projects.
Phases II through IV included a streetlight retrofit which converted more than 14,000 streetlights to LEDs, expected to result in a 60 percent annual reduction in energy costs; LED upgrades in four municipal garages, with $89,000 in expected annual cost savings; and nine additional solar installations. All projects are anticipated to conclude in 2018.
In addition to the ESPC, in 2015 the city invested in the Worcester’s Department of Inspectional Services facility’s HVAC system resulting in 21 percent annual energy savings and $17,000 in cost savings, just from replacing their four underperforming rooftop units with highly efficient units. Not only did the upgrade cut costs, it resolved air-balancing and temperature fluctuation issues to make the facility much more comfortable for its 100 full-time staff members.
To learn more about ESPCs, visit U.S. DOE’s State and Local Solution Center and register for the ESPC webinar series running through September 13, 2018 that will explore the tools and resources of the Better Buildings Energy Savings Performance Contracting Accelerator.