The University of Massachusetts Amherst has retained ConEdison Solutions (CES) for a campus-wide solar power initiative expected to reduce university electric bills by $6.2 million over the next 20 years. ConEdison Solutions will own, operate and maintain 15,576 photovoltaic panels at eight sites across the UMass campus. The PV systems will collectively generate annual electricity equivalent to that used by 900 typical Massachusetts homes. Installation is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
The PV systems will provide 5.3 megawatts (MW) of clean, renewable power, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equal to 31,000 non-metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
The eight installations – six on rooftops and two above existing asphalt parking lots – will be engineered and constructed by Brightergy, a national solar company. Brightergy worked with Sol Systems to arrange for project finance, ownership and ongoing operations and maintenance of the solar systems by ConEdison Solutions for up to 20 years. The university will buy all of the electricity from the $16 million project for direct use on campus through a power purchase agreement with ConEdison Solutions.
The project will require no up-front costs to the university. ConEdison Solutions sells the electricity to the university at a rate that is below the current market price. The solar arrays will save the university $89,000 on electricity in the first year. UMass Amherst projects that savings will grow to an average $310,000 per year.