Situated just over 7 miles from downtown Boston, George’s Island is a popular historic site for visitors and serves as a hub of all maintenance functions for the Harbor Islands. BAA was commissioned to design a new modular maintenance facility and address the island’s needs of renewable energy. The challenge of this project was to generate electricity on site, since the island is not connected to the power grid. Previously, all electricity was provided by diesel generators consuming fossil fuel. To reduce the island’s dependence on non-renewable energy, an off-grid photovoltaic-diesel hybrid electrical generation system (PVDS) was constructed, providing clean and quiet power source for the island. The new system features a 3200 sf, 30 kW photovoltaic array (about 140 panels) on the roof, new generators, new battery watering system and an upgraded battery storage room.
On hot clear days, the solar panels can generate up to 32.2 kilowatts per hour, more than the island consumes, and surplus power is stored in a battery bank. Solar power generates about half of the island's electricity, reducing its annual oil use by more than 7,500 gallons and carbon dioxide emissions by almost 100 tons.This system has been carefully managed and is now being enhanced in the hopes of creating a net zero island.