Saturday, 2:15 PM
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
The green at Fenway Park will no longer be limited to the cushiony grass, historic rafters, and 37-foot-high wall in left field. Enough solar panels have been installed on the roof to heat a third of the hot water needed at the 96-year-old ballpark.
The solar installation, which is being unveiled today, will provide 37 percent of the hot water needed at the stadium, reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by roughly 18 tons. The project is being spearheaded by National Grid, which has committed $75,000 to Solar Boston.
City and federal officials announced plans for the environmental upgrade at Fenway last month to highlight a $600,000 initiative to increase the city's solar energy output 50-fold by 2015.
Dubbed Solar Boston, the effort will map neighborhoods to identify south-facing rooftops ideal for photovoltaic panels; market solar power to businesses and homeowners; and work to overcome technical and financial barriers to solar energy.
"The program is designed to jump-start widespread solar installations throughout Boston with a public-private partnership," said James Hunt, the city's environmental and energy services chief.
The goal is to increase solar output from the current 1/2 megawatt to 25 megawatts, which is enough to power 3,000 Boston households, Hunt said.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino said last month that the goal is to "make clean, abundant, and affordable solar energy the norm and no longer an alternative source of energy."
The program will be funded in part by $150,000 from the Department of Energy, a grant the city matched. The federal government will also provide an additional $250,000 in technical assistance over two years, and the state has agreed to contribute $50,000, Hunt said.
The Menino administration plans to lead the citywide solar push by installing about $1 million worth of panels on municipal buildings, including Brighton High School, The Strand Theatre, Tobin Community Center, and the West Roxbury Branch Library. That is on top of Boston's $2 million Green Affordable Housing Program that has added solar to the roofs of six city developments.