Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and members of Bristol Community College (BCC) revealed the largest solar canopy in New England on Friday — a 3.2MW installation that covers 800 parking spaces over two hectares of land on the college’s Fall River Campus.

Developed through a partnership with nonprofit energy-purchasing group PowerOptions and solar developer SunEdison, the installation will churn out 34 million kWh of energy annually and will offer 20-year savings of over US$1.75 million.

The canopy, which is expected to produce enough energy to cover half of the campus’ electricity needs, will help offset the emission of over 1,500 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Baker noted: "Clean energy technology in Massachusetts is thriving, spurred by the Commonwealth's innovative spirit, vibrant technology industry, strong public-private partnerships and world class academic institutions.

"Initiatives like the solar canopy at Bristol Community College leverage opportunities at state facilities, and position the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while protecting the environment and moving towards our administration's solar goal of generating 1,600 megawatts at homes, businesses, municipalities, and state agencies by 2020."

The BCC has already signed off on a power purchase agreement with SunEdison to buy the power from the plant for a set price over a 20-year span. Operation and maintenance services on the project will be performed by SunEdison Services.

Steve Raeder, SunEdison’s managing director of commercial and industrial for the eastern US, said: "A solar parking canopy system of this size and scale is the perfect fit for Bristol Community College's renewable energy needs.

"Colleges, municipalities and other facilities with large parking areas can also benefit from the innovative SunEdison solar parking canopy system, which provides shade and shelter in addition to generating cost effective, clean solar energy. With solar projects like this, made possible by the governor's forethought and effective renewable energy policies, the Commonwealth is well on its way to reaching its renewable energy goals."