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Winning solar projects pave the way for the energy future

Four innovative and forward-looking photovoltaic (PV) solar projects were named winners of the 2016 Photovoltaic Project of Distinction award at the Solar PV Conference & Expo in Boston.

Each award-winning project represents the kind of innovation and industry collaboration that is paving the way for the transformation of the U.S. energy system and the future of the solar industry. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) are cosponsors of the conference and the award.

Below are brief descriptions of the award-winning projects, including the names of the companies that worked together to complete them. All were recognized at the conference Feb. 24 in Boston.

National Grid – Solar Phase II

National Grid Solar Phase II

National Grid’s Solar Phase II project locates and installs its PV systems on sites deemed to bring the most benefit to the electric distribution system, even if it presents a challenging construction. When completed there will be eighteen projects, built in specific targeted locations to help better service the grid, with advanced inverter functionality and remote control capabilities. Throughout this innovative project, National Grid has partnered with local solar developers and towns with aspirations of engaging local high schools and colleges to get them involved in an effort to expand the potential value these type of solar projects with learnings applied to future installs. Participating companies include:

National Grid
Borrego Solar Systems, Inc.

Palmer Airport Brownfield

2015 POJ Palmer Airport Brownfield

Palmer Airport Brownfield

The Palmer Airport project is the first and largest solar array on a qualified brownfield under the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources SREC II program and is the result of a successful public-private collaboration. The project was constructed adjacent to a decommissioned landfill on the site of a former private airport. Three public entities – the towns of Leicester and Spencer, and Worcester State University — will all receive energy credits generated by the project, resulting in millions in cost savings. Participating companies include:

PSE&G Solar Storage Pilot

PSE&G Solar Storage Pilot

The Hopewell Valley Central High School solar project was implemented as a part of PSE&G’s Solar 4 All program, using integrated technologies to reduce solar impact on the grid and demonstrate reliability and grid resiliency. Located in Hopewell, New Jersey, it features an 876-kilowatt kW), grid-connected solar system with lithium ion battery storage. The solar system includes both a rooftop system on the school and a canopy system over the school parking lot. The system is metered from SREC sales, and provides community benefits in the form of lease payments to the school. The system will also allow the school to serve as a shelter and warming station during extended power outages and natural disasters. Participating companies include:

Advanced Solar Products
Hopewell Valley Regional School District
AF Mensah, Inc.

Sippican Community Solar Garden

Sippican 2
Sippican Community Solar Garden

The Sippican Community Solar Garden is a unique business model that combined favorable state policies and incentives with smart technology and design choices to bring energy independence to residents, nonprofits and businesses in southeastern Massachusetts. The 900-kW project features Enphase microinverters and is expected to generate more than 1,200 megawatt-hours per year, helping more than 100 cooperative members across 23 towns to leverage the buying power of a large group to receive direct savings on energy costs. Participating companies include:

• Enphase
My Generation Solar

About the PV Project of Distinction Award

The projects were judged on the following criteria:

1. Design – Overcoming design challenges; innovation; aesthetics.
2. Technology (for the components) – Overcoming design challenges; innovation.
3. Policy and Financing – optimum, creative or unusual approaches to policy/finance.
4. Collaboration – Involvement with the community and among sectors (public-private, schools, etc.).
5. Community Benefit – Philanthropic; non-profit; low income.
6. Community Project Development – Does the project serve more than one user?
7. Ease of Replication – Can this business model or project approach be replicated?

Solar Power PV Conference & Expo – Boston is the premier solar event in the northeast. The event features over 50 exhibitors, and 1,500 attendees. Attendees visit the event to view the latest in solar technology, networking with solar industry professionals, learn about the policy impacting the northeast and to create more business opportunities. The event takes place on February 24-25, 2016 in Boston, MA.

SEIA®celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at

SEPA®, The Solar Electric Power Association is an educational nonprofit that enables the transition to a clean energy economy by facilitating utility integration and deployment of solar, demand response, other distributed energy resources, and supporting technologies onto the grid. With more than 1,000 utility and solar industry members, SEPA provides unbiased market intelligence on utility solar and other distributed resources, up-to-date information about technologies and business models, and industry networking opportunities. For more information, visit