IBEW shows commitment to solar industry with PV + battery system at union HQ

Nexamp and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 103 celebrated the completion of a solar and energy storage project at IBEW’s headquarters in Dorchester, Mass. The system pairs 220 kWdc of solar generation on IBEW’s roof with a ground-mounted, 200 kWh AC-coupled, lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) located behind the meter.

The project will provide IBEW with annual savings on energy costs and supplemental power in the event of a local power outage, and is an ideal example of how the Massachusetts solar developer community and organized labor can lead the way in transitioning to a clean and resilient electric grid.

“Today marks a historic day for our union,” noted Lou Antonellis, Business Manager of IBEW Local 103. “We are committed to building a sustainable, resilient, and energy-efficient future for our members and our communities. The completion of this project demonstrates that IBEW electrical workers are leading the way in transitioning to clean energy and resilient infrastructure. We have always had green technology on our campus and this project completed with Nexamp takes that to the next level.”

This project represents an ongoing relationship between Nexamp and IBEW, with Nexamp acting as the long-term operator of this system, working closely with IBEW to ensure optimum efficiency and performance over the life of the project.

“Nexamp is extremely proud of our partnership with IBEW and this project, which will benefit Local 103 and its members for years to come,” said Nexamp CEO Zaid Ashai. “This effort builds on our longstanding relationship and helps prepare us for the urgent work ahead, building a renewable and resilient grid that will create local jobs and help mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.”

IBEW’s combined solar and storage system, designed and installed by Nexamp and Lynnwell Associates, will provide enough energy to meet nearly 70 percent of the electricity needs of IBEW’s headquarters. Combining the solar generation with energy storage has the added cost saving benefit of enabling IBEW to store solar power when electricity prices are low and use it when prices are high.

“Our partnership with IBEW Local 103 has deepened over the past decade as our company has grown. We know this relationship with labor will be essential to Nexamp’s future success and our work building out the nation’s clean energy infrastructure,” added Chris Perron, Nexamp Senior Vice President of Clean Energy Deployment.

It can also provide much needed backup power during disruptions caused by increasingly frequent and intense storms.

“We’ve seen a significant spike in interest in energy storage among commercial customers over the past year as the technology has improved and the benefits are becoming more apparent,” stated Mark Frigo, Nexamp Vice President of Energy Storage. “The project with IBEW is one of our first behind-the-meter applications and is a great example of how storage is able to address rising energy costs as well as an increased need for resiliency.”

Nexamp is a leading developer of solar and energy storage solutions nationwide, and this project is one of a growing number in Massachusetts that pair solar energy with energy storage and benefit from state incentives under the Massachusetts SMART program to increase grid resiliency and manage power on the electric grid during times of peak energy use.

The partnership with Nexamp is one of IBEW’s many efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, reduce energy costs, and increase energy efficiency. This project will complement other upgrades completed by IBEW, including façade-mounted solar panels and a wind turbine that provide power to the group’s training center, wind-powered EV charging stations in the parking lot and solar-powered off-grid LED parking lot lights. All of these projects will provide training opportunities for IBEW members who will be installing the advanced technologies that are at the heart of the clean energy transition.

The project comes at a key time with the recent passage of state and federal legislation. The Inflation Reduction Act, of course, is the largest single investment in clean energy in U.S. history. And just a couple of months prior, in Massachusetts, Governor Baker signed into law An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind.

“Our union is walking the walk when it comes to energy efficiency,” said Renee Dozier, Business Agent, IBEW Local 103. “The completion of this project comes on the heels of historic support from the Biden administration, through the Inflation Reduction Act and other measures, that means our transition to renewable energy will also uphold and create good union jobs.”

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