Solar expected to save university $2M in energy costs - Smart Energy Decisions

Distributed Generation, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  January 17, 2017

Solar expected to save university $2M on energy

Brandeis University has partnered with a number service providers to install a 1.27 MW rooftop solar array that is expected to save the Massachusetts-based institution up to $2 million on its energy costs over 20 years.

Under the program, Brandeis will purchase solar energy from the system installed on the roof of a property in Somerville, Mass., which is owned by an affiliate of AEW Capital Management, according to a Jan. 12 news release. Through the utility billing mechanism known as virtual net metering, Brandeis will receive credits on its utility bill for every kilowatt-hour produced by the remotely located installation.

"We hope this is the first of many opportunities to support new solar developments in Massachusetts, and hedge against the volatile, fossil fuel-based electricity market," the university's sustainability manager, Mary Fischer, said in a statement. "While we continue to investigate long-term, onsite solar for our campus, this agreement is an immediate opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and fiscal responsibility."

Fisher said the system is expected to reduce Brandeis' energy bill by an estimated $70,000 in the first year, and up to $2 million over 20 years. The solar array will generate nearly 1.6 million kWhs of energy in its first year, enough to provide 3.5% of Brandeis' energy needs, according to the news release. 

Brandeis has a 20-year power purchase agreement with Kenyon Energy to finance the solar installation. According to the news release, the university will pay Kenyon Energy for the electricity generated by the solar facility at a cost "significantly below" its current utility rates. 

Borrego Solar built and developed the array, which is expected to become operational this spring. Competitive Energy Services consulted Brandeis in its effort to go solar, and facilitated the contracting of Borrego Solar and the site it developed for the array.

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