Environmental Leader – Resiliency Redefined: Massachusetts Emergency Shelter Can Be Powered By Solar in Event of An Outage

Ameresco, energy efficiency and renewable energy company, recently announced that it has completed a resiliency project at the Town of Wayland Middle School, which also serves as the community’s emergency shelter. This initiative will ensure that Wayland’s emergency shelter can access solar generated power in the event of emergencies that cause outages.

The project integrates an existing 230 kW solar canopy facility at the Middle School 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.

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