Medfield Energy Committee
2017 Annual Report
To the Honorable Selectmen and residents of Medfield
The Medfield Energy Committee (MEC) was chartered by the Select Board in 2008 to help the Town reduce energy consumption and operating costs. We have been making steady progress on reducing energy use and supporting generation of renewable energy.
The MEC would like to thank Fred Bunger, past Chair of the Committee since 2015 for all his hard work and accomplishments and welcome Lee Alinsky as the new Chair. We also would like to thank Jerry McCarty, the Town Facilities Director, who has taken over the tasks of Andrew Seaman, the former Town Energy Manager, and who is helping the committee with energy planning and implementation for the Town in addition to his other duties as Town Facilities Director.
The Town of Medfield tracks energy use through the Massachusetts Energy Insight program. For fiscal year 2017 (July 2016 to June 2017) the Town used 45,671 MMBTU of energy at the cost of $570,835 for electricity and $99,326 for natural gas, a reduction from fiscal year 2016 of 6.7% in energy use and 12% in cost.
The following are the 2017 MEC activities and energy use reductions achieved by the Town.
The 281 Kilowatt (kW) solar array installed at the Medfield Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) in 2015 continued to contribute significant savings to the cost of energy. In calendar year 2017, the panels have generated 265,280 kW of electricity, or 49% of electricity use at the WWTP. This generation rate is less than 2016 because in August an inverter failed. The component was under warranty and was repaired and the system only lost a couple of weeks of peak generation. In addition, the Town collected $68,000 in Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) which made the project cash positive for the year. Those earnings went into the WWTP Sewer Enterprise Fund. The savings from the solar array helped reduce the planned water and sewer rate increase from an anticipated 4% to 2%.
The WWTP solar project, approved at 2015 Town Meeting, was budgeted at $700,000, but with the fall in the price of solar panels, was completed $268,200 under budget. The surplus was set aside for a solar project on the Department of Public Works (DPW) garage and that project was approved at the 2016 Town Meeting.
The Town has been working with Solar Design Associates to update and modify drawings and specifications for the DPW garage solar project public bid. It is anticipated that this site can accommodate a 155 kW solar panel installation. This project is to be funded from the surplus from the WWTP installation.
A 60 kW solar array was installed on the new Public Safety Building in 2016 and electricity from the solar array feeds directly into the building and offsets the building’s total energy usage. In 2017 the solar array generated 53,559 kW of electricity, 18.5% of the building’s electricity use.
At the 2017 Town Meeting, the Town voted to be designated by the Commonwealth as a Green Community and become eligible for grants to implement energy reduction measures in the Town. The MEC worked with the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (MAPC) and RISE Engineering to develop a 5 year plan of energy improvements and energy reduction projects to submit to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) for approval. On February 13, 2018 the DOER approved the energy savings measures proposed by Medfield and once contracts are approved for the first year of measures, the DOER will award the Town an initial grant of $146,738. The measures include conversion of school and town building and exterior site parking lights to LED as well as an upgrade of the Blake Middle School Building Management System software, and retro commissioning of the Blake heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. It is anticipated that these upgrades will be completed in 2018 and save the Town approximately $48,000 in annual energy costs.
On the residential and commercial side of the Town, the 2016 Medfield’s Solarize Massachusetts Solar Challenge program was a huge success. Marie Nolan was the Medfield Solar Coach and directed the program that encouraged homeowners to install solar panels by offering lower installation costs, as more installations were signed-up. New England Clean Energy was selected by the Committee as the solar vendor for the Town. Over the six-month Solarize Medfield program, Medfield residents signed 29 contracts with New England Clean Energy for photovoltaic (PV) systems, which represent 259 kW worth of capacity. Twenty-two systems were installed successfully in 2017 after 7 were installed in 2016. With these installations, there was an 82% increase in PV capacity compared to Medfield’s residential renewables generation by PV before the program started.
Medfield residents with PV systems are saving on their electric bills, earning green income thorough SRECs, and offsetting carbon emissions. If residents are already in the SREC program, they will continue to receive 10 years’ worth of SRECs. SRECs are the positive environmental attributes associated with the energy production that are purchased by retail electricity suppliers – one SREC is created for every 1-megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity.
At the 2017 Town Meeting, the Town voted to purchase the Town’s 347 street lights from Eversource for $1.00 and convert them to LED. The Town has hired Lightsmart Energy Consulting to perform a required baseline audit of the street light fixtures. The MEC is working with the MAPC and Lightsmart Energy Consultants to determine LED light specifications for purchase and installation as well as a maintenance contract.
The MEC usually meets on the second Thursday evening of the month at either the Town Garage or at the Public Safety Building. The public is always invited to attend the meetings, participate in the discussion and offer help in reducing energy consumption in the Town. Residents interested in becoming a member of the Energy Committee are encouraged to contact the Energy Committee Chair or the Town Administrator.
Lee Alinsky, Chair
Jerry McCarty, Facilities Director, Ex-Officio
Osler Peterson, Selectman, Ex-Officio
Michael Sullivan, Town Administrator, Ex-Officio