By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
MARLBOROUGH – With a figurative plug-in, Marlborough leaders celebrated a solar system going live on the roof of Francis J. Kane Elementary School in town.
The sun was shining as officials gathered outside of Kane on Oct. 7.
“How appropriate when we’re announcing the ribbon cutting for solar projects in the city.” Mayor Arthur Vigeant said.
Kane was the first of four rooftop solar systems to go live in Marlborough in August.
The other solar projects are on three other Marlborough schools — Sgt. Charles J. Jaworek Elementary, Goodnow Brothers Elementary and Marlborough High School. They will go live by the end of the year.
The schools were the perfect place to put the systems, Vigeant said.
“Once they’re done, [they] will kick the City of Marlborough for our municipal electricity to 80 percent green,” Vigeant said.
Marlborough is projecting to save about $1 million and avoid over 16,800 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the lifespan of the solar systems.
Solect Energy Vice President of Development Matt Shortsleeve called the program a public-private partnership.
The four systems were developed by Solect Energy and procured with a behind-the-meter Power Purchase Agreement through the PowerOptions Solar Program, according to the city.
That agreement lets the solar systems be installed at no cost to the city.
The power generated from the systems will be purchased and consumed by the schools at what the city said was a “significantly discounted rate” compared to grid power.
Marlborough Public Schools’ Superintendent Michael Bergeron thanked Vigeant, the School Committee and the City Council for investing in the schools. He also thanked the effort’s corporate partners for making it happen.
“I’m very excited for the educational benefit that this will bring as well as renewable energy is certainly the forefront of many of the educational science topics that we’re going to be talking about every day in school,” Bergeron said.
It’s been about a decade since the city became a green community, Vigeant said.
In line with those green efforts, he said Marlborough has replaced its streetlights with LED lights and expanded its electric vehicle program.
Marlborough has been purchasing electric vehicles. The city’s website now says it has five electric vehicles in addition to several hybrids.
Additionally, Marlborough has installed charging stations across the city.
Marlborough’s aggregation program is 100 percent green, he said.
“I think, 10 years later, 11 years later, we’re probably one of the greenest communities in the state,” Vigeant said.