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Milford Daily News: Patrick checks out Medway school’s solar panels

April 16, 2010

April 16, 2010
By Ashley Studley, Milford Daily News

MEDWAY — Gov. Deval Patrick and state legislators gathered at Medway High School yesterday morning to celebrate new solar panels and recognize the student who suggested them.

The school recently completed installing 660 solar panels on its roof. It will save thousands of dollars each year thanks to one student’s bright idea.

“One of the things I find so exciting about this moment is we have a confluence of interest … and an economic opportunity to create a new industry and a lot of new jobs,” Patrick told a group of students.

After doing some research last year, sophomore Erin Espinosa wrote a letter to Principal Richard Pearson suggesting the school install solar panels on its roof.

Pearson liked the idea and followed up on it, eventually overseeing the installation of the panels.

Espinosa then formed and became president of Project Green – a 30-member student club that raises awareness about environmental issues.

“It’s a huge issue,” Espinosa told Patrick. “School is where it needs to start.”

Patrick was impressed by her initiative.

“Are you going to run for governor?” he joked.

Medway received a $535,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to offset the costs, and selected Broadway Electrical Co. to design, install, own and operate the panels.

Construction began in October, and finished in February. Broadway will sell all of the energy generated by the system to the School Department at a discounted cost, which will save the school $15,000 annually in energy bills.

“When we think about going green, it’s all about connecting the dots … about how our presence has an effect on people in the future,” Patrick said.

He said Massachusetts is the leader in green technology, and its solar industry has quadrupled in size over the last two years – a number likely to continue growing.

It will “create jobs that respond to climate change,” he said.

Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, agreed.

“Green jobs are the silver lining of our economy … there are jobs and there will be jobs in the future,” Spilka said.

Rep. James Vallee, D-Franklin, thanked Spilka and Patrick for their advanced green efforts.

“I urge Gov. Patrick to continue to be the governor of the future, and I hope to have the opportunity to work with him for a long time,” Vallee said.

Larry Hurwitz, CEO of Broadway Electrical, said the panels will provide 10 percent of the school’s energy consumption and reduce its carbon emissions by 130,520 pounds.

“I think this is living proof that energy is economical,” Hurwitz said.

Rep. Carolyn Dykema, D-Holliston, was impressed by the student awareness.

“As a mother, I’m amazed at how much your generation has a vision of where we need to go,” she said.

Project Green members Ben Wright and Ben Carlisle, both sophomores, were delighted by the governor’s visit.

“It’s important he comes here and spreads the word,” Carlisle said.

“It’s a good experience. (His visit) will raise awareness in our school and I think more people will join the movement,” Wright said.

Patrick urged the students to continue raising awareness on an environmentally and economically important issue.

“You have power: Power to shape your future and to shape your community,” he said.

Ashley Studley can be reached at 508-634-7556 or


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