Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven will soon be the new home for more than 3,000 photovoltaic solar panels that will generate more than a million kilowatt hours of electricity annually.
The university says construction of the solar project is scheduled to begin in the spring. The panels will be installed with no capital investment or upfront expenditures by Connecticut taxpayers.
Southern Connecticut State has partnered with Current powered by General Electric and Connecticut Green Bank on the solar initiative. Funding for the project comes entirely from private capital sourced by Connecticut Green Bank.
The system is projected to generate about 4 percent of electricity consumed on campus. Once fully installed, they are projected to save the university more than $10 million within the first 20 years.
The panels will be installed as a combination ground mount and carport array in parking lot 9 near Brownell Hall, and a rooftop array at Wintergreen garage. The panels will help power the west side of campus, which consists mostly of residential areas and business operations.
"We chose sites for this solar project that are best for maximizing energy production and don’t compromise other potential land uses or ecological value," says Suzie Huminski, the university's sustainability coordinator. "Even though our goal is to maximize solar installation, it is just as important to consider ecosystem and community value for potential sites as it is to consider southern sun exposure. We’re proud to take such a big step forward with our climate leadership efforts.”
Students have been involved in the process as well. Huminski recalls that in 2015, four students helped conduct a campus solar feasibility study. The university was already in early stages of solar planning, and these students got a real-time firsthand view of planning a large commercial renewable project.