As our reliance on solar and wind energy grows, so does the challenge of reliability: The wind and sun can’t be turned on and off whenever people need electricity. One part of the solution is energy storage.
Massachusetts has one of the most ambitious solar programs in the country. West of Worcester alone, 17 large solar projects have been built with another 27 in the pipeline.
Western Massachusetts Electric Company has finished building the largest solar energy facility in New England. And the 8,000 solar panels sit in an unlikely location – a residential area in Springfield.
Down a winding road in the Indian Orchard neighborhood, past a housing project and several single-family homes, is a 12-acre industrial site that now contains row after row of shiny, silver solar panels. On this gloomy day, WMECO president Peter Clarke talked about their collective productivity.
Manufacturers need to invest in solar technology if it’s ever going to become inexpensive and widespread. That’s one finding in a new UMASS Amherst report. Lead scientist Erin Baker from the University’s mechanical and industrial engineering department and others from around the country have been studying a range of sun fueled technology to determine its viability in the future. Researchers came to their conclusions by analyzing the risks of certain investments and identifying the key breakthroughs in solar technology that could lower its costs.