Boston College High School incorporated solar as part of an unprecedented environmental initiative to be responsible and sustainable stewards of the Boston metropolitan community. In addition to the economic benefits of their solar installation, the school has incorporated Borrego Solar’s curriculum into their science classes, so students can utilize real time data, and explore a working PV site in person. Positioned on the scenic Columbia Point, Boston College High School is a Jesuit, Catholic college preparatory school that strives to challenge their students to become young men of integrity, educated in faith and for justice, committed to academic excellence and service to others.
The Boston College High School solar power installation consists of 858 Yingli 230 watt solar modules that are roof mounted with Sunlink racking. The modules are wired in 66 strings of 13 modules each and were brought to the roof prefabricated with the use of two cranes. The installation, which covers 25,629 square feet, nearly all of the schools available roof space, will help power up to 40% of BC High’s daily electricity needs in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way. At the time of the installation, the system was the largest single-building installation in Boston. Two Satcon PowerGate Plus inverters were installed to convert the Direct Current (DC) energy produced at the panels into Alternating Current (AC) electricity running through the utility grid. The system was interconnected with the existing electrical system on site at the high school.
Boston College High School should save approximately $500,000 in energy costs from going solar, and all without any capital outlay. As a non-profit (tax exempt) entity, BC High was qualified to monetize on the available state and federal incentives for solar by engaging Borrego Solar (a for-profit corporation who can) in an integrated power purchase agreement (PPA). Through the PPA, BC High is able to purchase the clean solar energy produced by the solar panels on site at no additional cost for 20 years, because Borrego Solar owns the equipment and any costs associated with construction, operations, maintenance, and repairs. The rate for the energy the school is paying is fixed and discounted from what they were paying the local utility, and will protect the school’s operating budget from volatile spikes in the cost of energy from traditional sources like oil, gas, and coal.