Medford plans ‘microgrid’ solar energy system
Medford will be able to expand its ability to generate and store solar power with the help of state funding.
Using $677,000 in grant funds from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, the city plans to install a “microgrid” solar energy system at its Public Works facility on James Street.
A microgrid system combines energy generation and storage at a site, allowing a municipality to use its own electricity even when the regional power grid is shut down because of a major storm or other occurrence.
Medford recently awarded a contract to Hopkinton-based Solect Energy to engineer, purchase, install, and service the microgrid. Solect recently installed solar panels on the roof of the public works building, and this summer plans to install a 255-killowatt hour battery and a microgrid controller next to the building.
Surplus power will be stored in the battery, allowing the public works facility to operate on its own power during grid outages, according to Alex Keally, senior vice president of business operations for Solect Energy.
The microgrid controller also will connect with an existing backup generator that could be used in the event the battery and solar cannot provide enough power for the facility.
The department also will be able to tap the storage capacity during peak energy usage periods, saving the city on its electric bills.