The Financial Viability of Solar Photovoltaic Canopies as Urban Climate Change Mitigation: An Analysis of the Potential Utilization of Public Space in Boston, Massachusetts

Clayton Hunter, James G. Baldwin, Michael L. Mann


We model the electrical power generation potential, calculate the associated avoided emissions and conduct an economic valuation of a scenario of large scale photovoltaic canopy implementation in metro Boston, Massachusetts on publicly managed parking real-estate operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. The results of this work demonstrate that 102.4 MWh of electricity may be generated by such a program which is equal to nearly 13.8% of total electricity demand in the state. Annual CO2, NO and SO2 emissions avoided in this scenario amounts to 53.7 tonnes of CO2, 46.5 kg of NO, and 107.1 kg of SO2. Despite the substantial amount of power production potential we find that such a scenario is not economically viable under current market conditions and using conventional financing mechanisms with a net present value of -1.4 Billion U.S. dollars.

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Energy and Environment Research   ISSN 1927-0569 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0577 (Online)  Email:

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