February 26, 2018

Massachusetts reaches 2,000 MW of solar installations

Glenn Billman

On February 7, after installing 78,647 projects Massachusetts finally hit the 2,000-megawatt benchmark for solar capacity, with at least one project in each of the state’s 351 towns and cities. If it sounds like a lot, that’s because it is—if Massachusetts were its own country, it would rank 18th in solar production worldwide, trailing right behind the Netherlands and Czech Republic.

What does 2,000 MW look like? It’s enough to power 328,000 homes, or if you’re a Back to the Future fan, at least one DeLorean time machine, which consumes 1.2 gigawatts per go. You could keep 1,183 average sized hospitals online, or the entire population of New England could run their laptops for a typical 7-hour workday and still have hundreds of megawatts left over each day. You could even brew 90 million pots of coffee every day, finally making it possible for America to run on solar Dunkin.

What else could 2,000 MW power? According to the Department of Energy, that’s the same amount of energy as 200 million LED light bulbs, 4,000 Corvette Z06s, or approximately 2.6 million horses.

While installing the equivalent of 2.6 million horses of solar power may not seem important, the corresponding industry growth is vital to Massachusetts. Since 2010, more than 49,000 clean energy jobs have been created in the Commonwealth, bringing the state’s industry total to 109,226. Solar is an important piece of the clean energy job market and an important piece of Massachusetts’ energy future.

The Baker-Polito administration realizes this and plans to support another 1,600 MW through the forthcoming SMART program. What does that look like? More jobs, less dependence on foreign fossil fuels, and a smaller impact on the environment. (In addition to the ability to brew 162,000,000 pots of coffee daily, of course.)


*Calculations were done with the assumption that 1 MW would produce 3.75 MWh a day.