The 650-acre solar farm will help BMC in its efforts to reach carbon-neutral status.

Photo courtesy of Boston Medical Center

Buying local is often touted as one of the key components in operating an environmentally friendly organization. But as Boston Medical Center (BMC) has shown with its investment in renewable energy, there are exceptions to the rule.

According to a report published by The Value Initiative, a member-driven initiative developed by the American Hospital Association (AHA) to support AHA members as the hospital field addresses the issue of affordability, the 496-bed academic medical center last year entered into a 25-year power-purchase agreement to buy 26 percent of the electricity produced from a 650-acre, 60-megawatt solar farm in North Carolina comprising 255,000 solar panels. After completing its first year of the contract, BMC says the move to solar has met its expectations while remaining cost-neutral.

The solar farm is managed by the Boston-based organization A Better City. BMC entered into the contract as part of a collaboration. The solar farm provides electricity to the hospital, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a developer that manages a 1,400-space parking garage and park in Boston.

The medical center says it is committed to become New England’s first carbon-neutral hospital.