Leewood, Northern Essex Dedicate Solar Expansion Tuesday

A ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday marks the expansion of “Haverhill’s largest rooftop solar array.”

Representatives of Leewood Realty, Northern Essex Community College and the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce will be on hand to dedicate the addition of 1,164 electricity-generating solar panels on the roof of the Leewood building, 60 Newark St.

As reported by WHAV last week, the 93,000 square foot, Leewood’s roof now sports more than 2,200 solar panels. The expansion added a 267-kilowatt system in partnership with Hopkinton-based Solect Energy Development. Until the addition, tenants of the industrial property purchased electricity at discounted rates. Northern Essex Community College is now buying the output of the additional arrays. The college expects to save $250,000 in energy costs over the next 20 years.

On the potential of other building owners following the example, Leewood’s Peter Schwarz told WHAV there can a window of investment but believes they should make such a decision based on their specific economics.

“Landlords, it could help them attract tenants possibly, or retain them if they drive down their energy costs. But all this is in the context of a financial decision. Green is important, but at the end of the day most people make decisions that are in line with their values. Of which, mine is it’s important to have a lower carbon footprint and a more sustainable building, but also have to be financially solvent,” Schwarz said.

“I would encourage other property owners that have older roofs – and tenants that are either existing, or they’re trying to attract to their building – to look into solar as way to pay for, what is an older roof, in my case. The roof replacement cost $250,000 and the solar array’s paying that back to the bank,” Schwarz said.

The ribbon cutting takes place just after noon, Tuesday, followed by remarks, lunch and solar tours.

The college also benefits from a “living solar lab” as part of the agreement.

“This agreement represents the best in a public and private partnership. NECC will be purchasing discounted renewable energy, saving more than $250,000 over the course of the 20-year agreement,” said Leewood’s Peter Schwarz. “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,” he added.

For more information about the ribbon cutting, contact the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce at (978) 373-5663.