Harvard Solar Garden


The Harvard Solar Garden

A new model for residential/business solar generation in Harvard, MA:

Community shared solar!

When Harvard, a small town in central Massachusetts, participated in the Solarize Mass program in 2011, more than 400kW of solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels were installed in the town of Harvard alone. But a number of residents and businesses were unable to participate because of site limitations – too much shade, a roof at the wrong angle or not able to bear the weight of panels, a renter unable to install on-site.

This situation gave rise to the the idea of a shared-ownership generation unit: the Harvard Solar Garden (HSG). Members of HSG may reside in any of the 100+ Massachusetts communities it serves. This model allows residents or businesses who cannot install solar panels on their own property to own solar electricity generating capacity. HSG is a community-shared photovoltaic (PV) solar generation unit located at a single site that allows members to use virtual net metering to receive the benefits of their off-site panels.

Since the inception and formation of the project, HSG has overcome many challenges – to be expected as a “first of its kind” endeavor. But HSG has had the support of the people of Harvard, as well as the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and state officials, including Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Jen Benson (Harvard’s elected legislators).

HSG has been designed and engineered by Solar Design Associates, a Harvard, Mass firm with more than 35 years of experience designing and engineering PV systems in Massachusetts, nationwide, and internationally.  Support and guidance have also been furnished by the law firm of Nixon Peabody.

As of late 2014, HSG is fully subscribed and over 500kW of solar generating capacity has been installed and is generating green power.

Contact HSG at: info@harvardsolar.org

Recent Stories:

Listen to NPR’s Living on Earth features Harvard Solar Garden

NECN:   Community Garden – for Solar Energy

WGBH: No Panels? No Problem. New Solar Power Options for the Suburbs

Greater Boston: Solar in the Suburbs

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This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Award Number DE-EE0005692, and was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.

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