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'Groundbreaking' Solar Noise Barrier Planned Along Route 128

LEXINGTON (CBS) -- A first-of-its-kind solar project is planned for a stretch of Route 128 in Lexington.

MassDOT said Tuesday it has signed a letter of intent to work on a "groundbreaking" highway solar photovoltaic noise barrier project that would power the equivalent of 120 homes with electricity per year.

"This highway solar noise barrier project will be the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere," MassDOT said in a statement.

The agency said it worked with Ko-Solar to evaluate two dozen potential sites for a pilot project before deciding to retrofit an existing noise barrier on the north side of the highway in Lexington. The barrier is 20 feet tall and twice the length of the Empire State Building on its side, or three Prudential Tower buildings.

"The retrofit PV system capacity is expected to be 637.5 kW DC, and 802,000 kWh will be generated annually," MassDOT said. "This represents the equivalent of supplying 120 homes per year with electricity and will avoid roughly 1.4MM tons of CO2 emissions."

MassDOT said it will closely monitor this pilot project to determine if it's feasible elsewhere in the state.


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