Soon rooftops at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will be generating savings for the campus—an estimated $6.2 million in savings over the next 20 years. That will be thanks to eight solar arrays, six rooftop installations and two parking canopies, being installed on campus. In all the campus will have 5.5 megawatts of solar panels generating its electricity by the end of 2016.
The majority of the 15,576 panels will be on the two parking canopies. In all, the systems will produce roughly 20 percent of the campus’ energy needs and are expected to save the university $89,000 on electricity during their first year of production and with savings growing to an average $310,000 per year. The solar panels will help the university to avoid peak use charges for electricity, deepening savings. “This will cut peak usage charges in half,” explained Raymond Jackson, director of the UMass Amherst Physical Plant.
“We are thrilled to be involved with the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s forward-thinking decision to execute this watershed project,” said Brightergy CEO Adam Blake. The project is being built by Brightergy through a partnership with Sol Systems and ConEdison Solutions which will own and maintain the arrays for up to 20 years (the university has an opportunity to purchase the system in 10 years). “This is a partnership with multi-faceted benefits for many, not least of whom will be the students who will have a unique, real-world STEM learning opportunity on campus,” he added.
If the university chooses to purchase the system outright it will further help it reach its sustainability goals. “By 2050, we want to be carbon neutral,” Jackson said. If the university chooses to purchase the system it would be credited with the emissions reduction.
“UMass Amherst prides itself on being a sustainability leader, serving as a model for campuses and communities across the country,” added Shane Conklin, associate vice chancellor for facilities and campus services. “We are very excited to be moving forward with what we view as an economic, environmental and educational win for our entire community.”
As part of the installation UMass Amherst one of the solar carports will serve as a learning lab and Brightergy will take on student interns from the university. “America’s college campuses often help point the way to the future when it comes to sustainability and renewable energy,” said Mark Noyes, president and CEO of ConEdison Solutions. Indeed, campuses across the country are not only going solar, but they’re also building solar research facilities and helping advance solar technologies.Tweet