Solar Array Added in Quest for Campus Carbon Neutrality
A new solar array brings Colby-Sawyer closer to its goal of transitioning to a carbon-neutral campus by 2050. In July, ReVision Energy installed a 68.4-kilowatt solar array on the roof of the college’s new Center for Art + Design. The 15,000 square foot building, opening this fall, is home to studios, a state-of-the-art black box theater and a fine art galleria with views of Mount Kearsarge, as well as offices for faculty and outdoor art areas.
The array is expected to produce approximately 80,020 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The clean energy produced by the array is equivalent to offsetting 82,900 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, which offsets the emissions of 87 barrels of oil or 4,231 gallons of gas or the carbon sequestered by 36 acres of forests.
“We are excited about this additional solar array as it enables Colby-Sawyer to expand its commitment to sustainability and renewable energy while allowing us to gain internal control of a portion of our energy budget moving forward,” said Director of Sustainability Jennifer White ’90.
The array includes 228 Q Cells solar panels, each rated at 300 watts. The panels are backed by a 25-year warranty and have an expected lifespan of 40 years. The system also includes four SolarEdge inverters, which convert direct current generated by the array into alternating current used by the building. A web-based monitoring platform will allow the college to track the array's performance. IGS Solar owns the system through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the college. The agreement is an innovative financing tool that allows the college to benefit from solar power at no upfront cost. Under the terms of the PPA, the college purchases electricity from IGS Solar at a negotiated rate. At year seven of the agreement, Colby-Sawyer will have the option to purchase the system at a significant discount, enabling the college to generate free solar power for decades to come. If the college purchases the system, projected savings from year seven and beyond will be approximately $6,000 each year.
In 2012, ReVision Energy installed a series of four rooftop arrays on campus buildings, a 127-kilowatt project that was financed by ReVision Energy through a PPA agreement similar to the arts center project. Colby-Sawyer’s 2012 solar energy project generates approximately 152,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year, which is equivalent to offsetting more than 157,000 pounds of CO2 emissions.
About ReVision Energy
ReVision Energy is leading Northern New England's clean energy transition. The company is a Certified B Corporation, using business as a force for good to solve social and environmental issues. Learn more at revisionenergy.com.