Travelers on Interstate 93 might spy a bit of sparkle coming off the roof of Boston Sand & Gravel Co's maintenance facility in Charlestown. The company recently unveiled a 109 kilowatt solar-power system -- the largest to be built under the state's new Commonwealth Solar initiative.
"We've got some serious leadership coming out of them," Ian Bowles, secretary of the state's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said of Boston Sand & Gravel, which he called one of the "old line, traditional industries" not often associated with renewable energy efforts.
This photo is courtesy of the energy and environmental affairs office:
The more than 550-panel system covers about 22,000 square feet and is expected to generated about 75 percent of the maintenance facility's annual power needs.
Bowles said the system was produced locally:
-- Evergreen Solar, which has a plant in Devens, made the panels
-- Nexamp Inc, headquartered in Somerville, installed the system
-- Solectria Renewables, in Lawrence, provided the inverter
-- Panel Claw, of North Andover, provided a component for a custom-designed mounting system.
(Update Thursday morning: Look for more rooftops to spout solar panels, thanks to an ambitious $100 million plan by Duke Energy. The private utilitiy, heavily dependent on coal and nuclear power, has asked regulators to rent 425 rooftops or land spaces to put up, produce, and sell solar power, according to this item in the New York Times Business of Green blog.
Duke's dynamic chief, Jim Rogers, made his intentions clear at MIT last April. "Every rooftop is a power plant,'' said Rogers, who then outlined a plan to change the rules of the business so that power companies could get credit for energy efficiency and make deals with homeowners and others to share in the cost and profits of solar. For more on that talk, click here.)
Will New England's utilities follow Duke's lead?
Readers, let us know your thoughts in our comments section.
About the green blog
Helping Boston live a greener, more environmentally friendly life.
Christopher Reidy covers business for the Globe.
Doug Struck covers environmental issues from Boston.
Glenn Yoder produces Boston.com's Lifestyle pages.
Eric Bauer is site architect of Boston.com.
Bennie DiNardo is the Boston Globe's deputy managing editor/multimedia.
Dara Olmsted is a local sustainability professional focusing on green living.