With the flip of a switch, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and the city of Boston illuminated a new chapter in their 137-year partnership and celebrated the nearly complete Weld Hill Solar Project, the latest advancement of their shared vision for a more sustainable future.
At a “switch-throwing” ceremony at the Arboretum’s Weld Hill today, Harvard President Larry Bacow; Boston Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space Christopher Cook; and Arboretum Director William “Ned” Friedman spoke to members of the University, the city of Boston, and the community about a unified commitment to mitigating climate change and maintaining a forward-focused dedication to conservation and the preservation of nature by utilizing fossil-free renewable alternatives for energy.
“Climate change is a challenge for all society and each and every one us bears a personal responsibility for what we can do individually,” Bacow said. “But we also have an institutional responsibility as a University, through our teaching, through our scholarship, and through how we run the institution. This project represents a tangible presentation of our commitment to do that.”
The most ambitious sustainability initiative to date for Harvard and the Arboretum, the 1.2-acre solar project design includes 1,152 ground-mounted solar panels and a 145-panel solar awning that will generate up to 30 percent of the energy required each year to support research and education at the Weld Hill Research Building, a state-of-the-art science laboratory and teaching facility in Roslindale. The project’s 450-kilowatt system is capable of producing more than 542,641 kilowatt hours each year to help researchers, faculty, and students from Harvard and around the world study plant life and its connection to all life on Earth.