The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board approved a plan on August 1 allowing for the installation of solar energy generating equipment at 37 T-owned parking facilities.
The 20-year lease agreement with Omni-Navitas Holdings LLC will generate $1.9 million in base rent in the first year, with a 3% annual increase. Once all the locations are fully operational, the MBTA will also realize approximately $5 million in savings through a reduction in snow removal, electricity and lighting maintenance costs. Over the 20-year length of the lease, the MBTA will realize $55 million in income and savings.
"The MBTA has undertaken an important opportunity to leverage its parking facilities to reduce costs, increase own-source revenue and support the Commonwealth's greater greenhouse gas reduction targets and clean energy goals," said Governor Charlie Baker. "Private sector partnerships like these are essential to the T's ability to focus on controlling costs and improving its core system to deliver the reliable public transit system its riders deserve."
The solar infrastructure initiative aligns with the Baker-Polito Administration's Real Estate Asset Leveraging (REAL) "Open for Business" Strategy for developing unused or underutilized state properties into new opportunities for transit-oriented housing, economic growth and job creation, increased revenue and reduced costs.
"This important partnership helps make the MBTA more fiscally sound by increasing own-source revenues as well as lowering our maintenance costs," said MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve. "It also helps expand the state's renewable energy infrastructure.
There will be a two-year installation period for putting the solar panels in place. The facilities are comprised of 28 MBTA surface parking lots and nine MBTA structured parking garages.
Garage locations include Alewife, Quincy Adams, Braintree, Woodland, Salem, Lynn and Route 128 station in Westwood, as well as Beverly Station Garage and Wonderland Station Garage. The MBTA surface parking lot locations include Haverhill, Bradford, Ballardvale, Wilmington, Wakefield, Franklin, Norfolk, Norwood Depot, Readville, Gloucester, Montserrat, Hamilton/Wenham, Halifax, Whitman, Abington, South Weymouth, North Scituate, Cohasset, West Hingham, Weymouth Landing, Westborough, Southborough, West Natick, Canton Center, Canton Junction, Hyde Park, South Acton and Hanson.
The MBTA also seeks to promote the development of renewable energy including solar photovoltaic facilities on its property for its own use.
As the largest electricity consumer in Massachusetts, the MBTA has focused on the development of a system-wide approach to implement energy efficiency programs with a goal of clean renewable energy development on its large real estate holdings. In May, the MBTA projected a 12.8% reduction in energy costs for the 2017 Fiscal Year, and expects to see additional savings during the next three years.
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