NEWS IN THE WORLD OF POWER AND INTEGRATED BUILDING SYSTEMS
16 ELECTRICALCONTRACTOR | OCT.16 | WWW.ECMAG.COM
Gaston Electrical Installs Rooftop Solar Power on Headquarters
> IN MARCH, GASTON ELECTRICAL CO.
Inc. installed a 175.8-kilowatt (k W)
rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar-power
system on the roof of its headquarters in
Norwood, Mass. The system eliminates 55
tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the
atmosphere, according to a press release.
The contractor partnered
with Solect Energy, the state’s
leading installer of solar
energy for businesses, on the
project. Bill Weber, Jr., Gaston
Electrical principal, and Brian
Herr, Solect’s vice president of
business development for the
public sector and education, had
previously worked together, so
the partnership for this project
Solect Energy planned the PV system’s
layout, while Gaston Electrical took
on the installation and electrical work,
according to Herr.
The installation of the PV system,
which is made up of 676 panels,
advances Gaston Electrical’s sustainable
practices. It produced more than 92,000
kilowatt-hours (k Wh) of solar energy
on the flat, 22,000-square-foot roof. The
roof presented a perfect opportunity for
a PV system.
“This was a great opportunity to
thrust ourselves into the solar market,”
Weber said. “Installing the system was
a chance to step outside of the norm of
sustainable energy—a very obvious way
to put our money where our mouth is. It
Gaston Electrical can now encourage
other Boston-region ECs and businesses
to consider PV systems, Weber said.
“Gaston differentiates themselves by
going green in this manner. They can
speak with direct experience to the cost-
benefits and risks involved,” Solect’s Herr
said. “They are ahead of the curve in the
During the installation, some neigh-
boring business owners came by to ask
about the system.
“[The Norwood Electric Department]
learned how to price these systems
and tie them into the grid,” Weber said.
“There are a lot of buildings similar to
ours that are prime candidates for a
system like this. I think there will be a
next year in Norwood.”
Gaston Electrical expects to
see significant electricity savings
in the first year of operation.
“The savings are significant—
not just from a financial standpoint,
but also from a consumption
standpoint,” Weber said. “We don’t
have a full year of experience yet,
but at 200,000 k Wh, it has been a
very productive summer.”
He said that Massachusetts
has incentive programs that help make
the financial burden of installing systems
of this size more palatable.
Before installing the PV system, Gaston
Electrical had already implemented
environmental initiatives in its
headquarters, including motion-activated
lighting and other efficiency systems to
conserve resources. Many of its projects
involve sustainable initiatives in LEED-certified buildings, Weber said.
California Lawmakers Raise the Energy-Storage Standard
> AS RENE WABLE PO WER INCREASES I TS MARKE T SHARE,
energy storage assumes a larger role. Recognizing the importance
of government benchmarks, California lawmakers have taken steps
to raise the state’s energy-storage standard.
In early September, state legislators passed four bills
intended to increase the amount of storage used in California.
Assembly Bill 33 directs the California Public Utilities
Commission (CPUC) to include large-scale pumped hydro
storage projects in its evaluations of potential storage
technologies. The law responds to controversy triggered by
the CPUC when it excluded large-scale pumped hydro from
consideration because the sheer size of these kinds of projects
would dwarf and exclude other, smaller storage technologies.
Assembly Bill 2868 would allow utilities to develop an
additional 500 megawatts of storage capacity on top of the state’s
existing storage capacity mandate, to be “divided equally among
the state’s three largest electrical corporations.”
Assembly Bill 1637 aims to double the capacity of the so-called
“Self-Generation Incentive Program.” Currently, it provides $83
million per year through 2019 for behind-the-meter generation
technologies, including wind, fuel cells and energy storage.
Assembly Bill 2861 directs the CPUC to establish a
resolution process for interconnection disputes—setting a goal
of resolving disputes within 60 days—and would require it to
appoint a “qualified electrical systems engineer with substantial
interconnection expertise to advise the director of the energy
division and to provide adequate commission staff to assist in
resolving interconnection disputes.”
All four bills are awaiting the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown.
On Sept. 8, Brown signed SB 32, which requires the state to
significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below
1990 levels by 2030. The previous goal had been set to only reach
1990 levels by 2020.