New report: Tapping the solar potential of Massachusetts’ warehouse roofs

Media Contacts
Johanna Neumann

Senior Director, Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy, Environment America

A resource for media that includes a link to the report and data visualization, drone footage of Horner Millwork’s solar array, photos from the event, videos of our speakers and B-roll, please visit this link.

SOMERSET, Mass. —  Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group unveiled their new report, Solar on Warehouses, Thursday on a Somerset warehouse rooftop. The researchers found that covering the roofs of Massachusetts’ warehouses and distribution centers with solar panels could generate enough clean electricity to power 379,000 households.

“Anyone who has looked out the window of a plane during takeoff or landing has likely seen the rooftop solar potential of America’s warehouses,” said Johanna Neumann, acting director of Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center. “The big, flat and sun-kissed rooftops of Massachusetts’ warehouses are perfect places for solar panels.”

The authors and other experts released the report atop Horner Millwork, a Somerset-based distributor and custom manufacturer of windows, doors, kitchens and stairs for the residential and commercial markets. Since Solect Energy installed 4,250 solar panels on Horner’s warehouse roof in 2017, those panels have provided 90 percent of the electricity needed to operate the 300,000 square foot plant.

The report found that Massachusetts has at least 1,178 warehouses and distribution centers, with more under construction. All together, Massachusetts’ warehouses have more than 163 million square feet of rooftop space. Nationally, warehouses cover an area twice the size of Memphis, Tennessee, one of the 30 largest U.S. cities. Putting solar on all American warehouses and distribution centers would generate enough electricity to power every household in every state’s largest city.

Yet, America has barely scratched the surface of its warehouses’ rooftop solar potential.

“The key to realizing the solar potential of warehouse rooftops is for warehouse owners to connect with solar developers and for utility companies to quickly connect rooftop solar systems to the grid,” said Alex Keally, senior vice president for Solect Energy, a Massachusetts-based company that has completed numerous solar installations on warehouse rooftops. 

To help American warehouses reach their rooftop solar potential, the report recommends that businesses invest in putting solar panels up on their facilities, like Horner did in Somerset. The report also recommends that all levels of government support solar energy adoption by cutting the red tape that impedes permitting and interconnection. 

“North Atlantic Corporation currently has two additional projects totaling 600KW under review with National Grid, and they’ve been under review for more than a year,” said Peter Humphrey, President, North Atlantic Corp. the parent company of Horner Millwork. “When making multi-million clean energy investment decisions, businesses like mine need faster review times and more transparency around price and cost.”