City of Salem, MA

12/06/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/07/2018 01:58

Salem Receives Leading By Example Award, Completes School Solar Arrays

The City of Salem was recognized at today's 12th Annual Leading by Example awards ceremony at the State House in Boston. Salem is one of eight awardees being honored for policies and programs that advanced or resulted in significant energy and emissions reductions, renewable energy installations, water conservation, sustainable landscaping, and a host of initiatives that reduce environmental impacts associated with state and municipal operations.

Salem, designated a Green Community in 2010, is receiving a 2018 Leading by Example recognition award for clean energy and sustainability leadership that includes an active Sustainability, Energy, and Resiliency Committee, 27 energy efficiency projects, including LED streetlight retrofits, that save an estimated 4 million kWh annually - the equivalent of removing 669 cars off the road - a new environmentally preferable buy-recycled city purchasing policy, a growing city-wide bike share program, and more.

'I am very pleased that Salem has earned this significant distinction for our efforts around sustainability and I want to thank the many City staff and community volunteers who have helped to advance this important work over the last several years' said Mayor Kim Driscoll. 'As much as Salem is known for being one of America's greatest historical communities, though, we are also forward-looking. As a coastal city it is vital that we take appropriate actions to mitigate potential threats that will be caused or exacerbated by climate change. Salem values policies and practices that are sustainable and environmentally sensitive. Whether it is converting our City street lights to LED fixtures, advancing electricity aggregation for consumers, replacing our City fleet with more efficient vehicles and increasing the energy efficiency of public buildings, or pursuing solar opportunities for school, municipal, and private property, Salem is focused on strategies that will reduce our overall carbon footprint and lessen our community's role in changing our planet's climate.'

This award comes at the same time the City completes work on 921 kW of solar photovoltaic power installed on two schools: 696 kW on Witchcraft Heights Elementary School and 275 kW on Bentley Academy Charter School. Bentley's array has been up since the fall of 2017 and the Witchcraft array was completed in two parts. The first part of the Witchcraft array was completed in August of 2017 and the second was completed in August of 2018. The projects are estimated to save over $115,000 in annual energy costs every year, with additional revenue from solar renewable energy credits estimated at over $100,000 annually. The $3.3M project was designed and constructed by Endless Energy, Inc. and was largely paid for from a $2 million grant from the Department of Energy Resources a $1.05 million grant from Footprint Power. A portion of the work was also made possible through City funds used for roof and related work.

'It was a pleasure to work with the City of Salem on this project,' said John Pitcavage, president of Endless Energy. 'Endless Energy commends the city for taking the initiative of producing safe, clean solar power. Not only is this system saving the city and school district money, but it is also inspiring the next generation to think about socially responsible ways of producing energy without damaging their environment. We hope this balance between economy and the ecosystem inspires the students to continue working towards educational endeavors that benefit society and the earth.'

The City has data from the arrays which citizens, students, and teachers can use to learn more about solar and watch the production. Links to the real-time solar data for both arrays can be found at https://www.salem.com/sustainability-energy-and-resiliency-committee-serc/pages/renewable-energy.

The Leading by Example (LBE) program is administered by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and works collaboratively with state agencies and public colleges and universities to advance clean energy and sustainable practices that reduce the environmental impacts of state government operations. The awards were presented at a State House ceremony by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, DOER Commissioner Judith Judson and Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance Commissioner Carol Gladstone.

'Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in clean energy with the help of state and local partners like those honored today for investing in initiatives to lower emissions and reduce costs,' said Governor Charlie Baker. 'The leadership, dedication and foresight of today's awardees will have lasting benefits to the Commonwealth as we progress towards a cleaner, more cost effective and resilient energy future.'