Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Solar Sound Barrier at the Auburndale Commuter Rail Station

Plans are afoot to move the Auburndale Commuter Rail Station to the north side of the MBTA tracks, abandoning the existing south-side platform. This would create a long strip of unused land, south of the tracks, from the Woodland Rd. Bridge to the Grove/Lexington St. Bridge.

Here's an idea for productive use of that to-be-abandoned paved strip, that simultaneously serves as a much needed sound barrier: Build a sound-blocking solar array, spanning the length of the strip.

Being on the far north side of the Mass Pike, with great south facing exposure, makes this the perfect location for a solar array.  

A 15' tall solar array spanning the 1500' between the bridges would amount to about 1/2 Megawatt of power, enough to take about 100 average Massachusetts homes off the grid.  This installation capacity would exceed any existing or planned installation in the city.

This idea can be entertained after the new station is built, but for now we shouldn't foreclose the opportunity for use of that strip of pavement. Mass DOT could ask an Energy Services Company (ESCO) about the site potential and to check my numbers.

Let's generate fossil free energy, reduce traffic noise, and make a highly visible statement to all I-90 motorists about Newton's commitment to sustainability.