AMHERST, Mass. — The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) has taken on a solar energy initiative designed to save over $6.2 million across a timespan of 20 years. The initiative will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide enough energy to power 900 Massachusetts homes.
Brightergy, a national energy company with offices in Charlestown, Mass., will install a total of eight solar panels with financing provided by Sol Systems, a solar financing and investment solutions firm located in Washington, D.C. Maintenance of the solar panels will be provided by ConEdison Solutions under a 20 year contract. The solar panels are projected to save the university $89,000 on electricity in the first year.
“UMass Amherst prides itself on being a sustainability leader, serving as a model for campuses and communities across the country,” said Shane Conklin, associate vice chancellor for facilities and campus services in a statement. “We are very excited to be moving forward with what we view as an economic, environmental and educational win for our entire community.”
Rooftop installations of solar panels will be made on the Recreation Center, Computer Science Building, Champions Center, Fine Arts Center, police station and bus maintenance garage.
The university will buy all of the electricity from the $16 million project for direct use on campus through a power purchasing agreement, according to a statement from UMass Amherst. The installations are scheduled for completion by December 2016.
Since 2005, UMass Amherst has cut its greenhouse gases by 23 percent. Besides energy reduction, the university has also started a variety of green initiatives such as using sustainable and local foods, composting and promoting eco-friendly modes of transportation around campus.
The university holds a STARS Gold designation from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and was ranked among the Top 50 Green Colleges by Princeton Review in 2015.