Solar Power World – Ameresco installs solar-powered backup system at Massachusetts emergency shelter

Ameresco has completed a resiliency project at the Town of Wayland Middle School, which also serves as the community’s emergency shelter. This advanced resiliency initiative will ensure that Wayland’s emergency shelter can access solar-generated power in the event of emergencies that cause outages.

The resiliency project builds upon several renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives that Ameresco has completed in a public-private partnership with Wayland over the last decade. The project integrates an existing 230-kW solar canopy facility at the Middle School — previously installed, financed, and operated by Ameresco — with the shelter’s emergency diesel generator. The resiliency project provides a system where the solar facility and emergency generator can operate together to support the shelter during utility outages.

Ameresco led the installation of the resiliency controls linking Ameresco’s solar facility located at the Middle School, the emergency generator and the school’s electricity load. These updates, along with additional electrical infrastructure, allow the solar arrays to operate when the utility grid is down by syncing to the generator. With the assistance of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Town of Wayland received a grant from the Commonwealth’s Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative (CCERI). The Town used the grant and Town funds to engage Ameresco to create both an islanding capability and advanced switching onsite at the Middle School, resulting in the ability for solar power to decrease the burden on the diesel generator during the course of extreme weather or other emergencies that disrupt the main grid. The project design also includes provisions for adding battery storage capacity in the future to extend the energy resiliency for Wayland’s emergency shelter.

“We are thrilled with this innovative solution that will help Wayland weather future storms and provide our emergency shelter with power fueled by clean solar energy,” said Louise Miller, Wayland Town Administrator. “Its location at the Middle School also will help students learn about the importance of resiliency as we look to the future.”

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