Council Advances HHS Solar Array; Power Enough for Whole Campus

A proposed rooftop solar energy array at Haverhill High School will advance to an engineering stage after receiving support from the Haverhill City Council.

City councilors voted 8 to 0 to approve an amended request by Mayor James J. Fiorentini to authorize the selection MassAmerican Energy, Marlborough, to construct and operate a proposed 2.2 megawatt solar energy array under a 20-year lease. While a power purchase agreement is to go before the council later, an amendment from Councilor William J. Macek moves the project forward “pending final approval from the council.” MassAmerican Manager A. Quincy Vale told councilors the solar array would provide “just about all” electricity needs at the high school.

“If you look at it as the campus, I think the campus will consume roughly 2.5 million kilowatt hours a year and this solar array we proposed will generate close to 2.5 million kilowatt hours a year,” Vale said. “We’re asking, at the moment, to be just awarded the right to do the engineering and a full agreement with all the terms and conditions would be provided back to you a couple of months from now.”

When asked by Councilor William H. Ryan about roof longevity and technology upgrades during the lease period, Vale noted a 20- to 25-year roof would replace the high school’s current 18-year-old roof and another roof replacement would come in 20 years when equipment is removed.

“The power purchase agreement that would be presented to you would be a 20-year agreement and, at the end of that, presumably, the whole thing would come off the roof. There would be another new roof put on and the next, latest, greatest iteration of solar technology would be utilized to continue to provide electricity to the school and then, hopefully, pay for the whole thing again,” Vale said.

Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan was absent.

2 thoughts on “Council Advances HHS Solar Array; Power Enough for Whole Campus

  1. I hope snow can be removed with those panels in place. Seems last winters load was unsafe and closed the school until it was removed. Adding the extra weight of the panels and support systems add ighter snow years may require multiple removals and closings.
    Just a thought.