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MassDOT wants to build solar panels along Mass. Pike

Posted by John Swinconeck  September 3, 2013 04:40 PM

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The state’s Department of Transportation wants to build a series of energy-generating solar arrays along the Massachusetts Turnpike as part of a green energy initiative.

The project is part of the department’s so-called GreenDOT initiative implemented in 2012, and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while reducing energy consumption, according to MassDOT spokesman Michael Verseckes.

MassDOT contracted with URS Corporation to identify sites along the turnpike on which to build solar panels that would generate six megawatts of electricity, said Michael Verseckes.

In Framingham, the interchange near Cochituate Road in addition to the service plaza are considered preferred sites, according to to a URS report. The toll plaza in West Stockbridge and the westbound embankment near the AT&T building in Natick are also preferred sites.

Other sites under consideration include the interchange at I-90 and Glendale Road in Stockbridge, and the westbound embankment near Oak and Dean streets in Wayland.

Most communities only required building or electrical permits in order to construct the panels, according to the USR report.

However, varying conditions including existing infrastructure, the amount of sunlight, flood hazards, and adjacent wetlands may also play a factor on which sites are ultimately selected, according to Verseckes.

The department will be soliciting bids until Oct. 17 to build the arrays, Verseckes said.

This isn’t the first solar initiative pursued by MassDOT, said Versekes. In December, the department partnered with the JF White company to construct a 325-panel solar array in Northampton that generates 70 kilowatts to offset about a third of the energy used by the adjacent Highway Administration building, said Versekes.

Contact John Swinconeck at johnswinc@gmail.com. Follow @johnswinc on Twitter.

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