At a Glance
Industrial Goods and Manufacturing
Clean and Renewable Energy
Harini Rengarajan advanced Cabot’s commitment to clean energy by evaluating opportunities for installing solar panels at its facilities.
Considering clean energy alternatives was the next big step in Cabot Corporation’s rapidly growing sustainability drive and technical prowess. They envisioned gleaming solar panels in Cabot’s biggest R&D center, a 100-acre campus in Billerica. But, because of Massachusetts’ ever-changing solar incentives, combined with the many financing and design options, it had yet to be done. Cabot hired EDF Climate Corps fellow Harini Rengarajan to assist Cabot in moving this project forward.
Rengarajan tackled the project in three different parts:
- Capacity: She analyzed space availability and possible constraints to determine the solar system’s production rating. To maximize the output, nailing down an optimal design was key. She then looked into the feasibility of installing rooftops and carports, and considered other parameters such as costs involved, savings, incentives, time required for construction, etc.
- Financing options: Cabot had the option of purchasing the system, leasing it (operating lease and capital lease) or signing a Power Purchase Agreement. After careful consideration of the company’s policies and practices, and determination of which would provide the best savings, getting a Power Purchase Agreement presented itself as the best option for Cabot.
- Incentives provided by the state: Massachusetts was undergoing a policy change from the SREC-II incentive program to the SMART incentive program. After forecasting returns under each program and contrasting the pros and cons of each, Rengarajan recommended Cabot to apply under the SMART program. A project timeline was drafted to achieve the best incentive rates.
Building a system of 1.3 megawatts (MW), consisting of both carports and rooftops, could cover up to 20% of Billerica’s annual production, reducing CO2 emissions equivalent to the amount of CO2 emitted by 117 gallons of gasoline consumed. In addition, Cabot has decided to carry their solar drive forward by requesting Rengarajan to perform a similar analysis in their manufacturing plant in Haverhill, which could be another 1 MW of renewable energy produced by Cabot.