Energy generated to power North Essex Community College, create “living solar lab” for students
HAVERHILL, MA—JUNE 12, 2015— Leewood Realty, which owns and operates the energy-efficient Leewood Building in the Newark Street Industrial Park, has completed the second phase of its renewable solar energy project, installing a 267 kilowatt system in partnership with Solect Energy of Hopkinton, MA. The project, which is the largest rooftop solar project in Haverhill, has more than 2,200 solar panels covering the entire 93,000-square-foot roof.
The electricity generated by the system is being sold at a reduced rate via a net metering purchase agreement to Northern Essex Community College (NECC), also located in Haverhill. Peter Schwarz, owner of Leewood Realty, said this agreement represents the best in a public and private partnership.
NECC will be purchasing discounted solar energy, saving more than $250,000 over the course of the 20-year agreement. NECC will purchase 300,000 kilowatt hours per year, offsetting approximately 500,000 pounds of CO2 each year and 10,065,000 pounds over 20 years, helping NECC towards its goal towards achieving climate neutrality.
Schwarz said he wanted to share his excitement with a younger generation of students who might want to consider careers in the solar energy industry, so he created a solar classroom atop the Leewood roof. Leewood will provide NECC students and staff rooftop tours of the solar system each year, and is contributing a $2,000 annual scholarship for the next 20 years for green courses for NECC students. In addition, Leewood will buy a touch-screen monitor displayed in a lobby at NECC that displays the real-time energy produced and carbon saved.
Schwarz said that the company’s mission has always been to take care of the environment and has worked over the years to create the greenest possible environment for the building’s tenants. Earlier efficiency upgrades included a new reflective roof, infrared warehouse heaters, motion sensor warehouse lighting, replacement of all larger windows, low-flow bathroom fixtures and more, he explained.
The first phase of the project supported the building and tenant electricity use, but for the second phase, Leewood wanted more. “From Day One, Leewood Realty has been a green company, and every day we look for new ways to make our building more sustainable for ourselves and our tenants,” Leewood said. “Expanding our solar energy system made incredible sense, not only from a financial perspective, but also from a green perspective. By partnering with NECC, we’re helping to create the next generation of environmentally conscious people.”
As part of the project, Leewood is also able to take advantage of state and federal tax and financial incentives, including SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Certificates), which are financial incentives based on the amount of solar energy their system generates. Electrical utility providers in Massachusetts purchase SRECs to help them meet their state-mandated goals of a percentage of power coming from renewable energy sources.
“Leewood Realty is a very forward-thinking company when it comes to creating green buildings,” said Matt Shortsleeve, senior director at Solect. “Peter’s commitment to the environment has not only created a highly attractive space for his tenants, but also a terrific hands-on educational experience for the students at NECC.”
Watch the video of Leewood Realty’s & Solect’s Ribbon Cutting