Hampshire College

Solar power system provides all of the electricity at Hampshire College

Jan. 5, 2018
19-acre system will save the Amherst, Mass., campus about $400,000 a year in energy costs.

All of the electricity at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., will now come from a 19-acre solar-energy system.

MassLive.com reports that campus officials believe this is the first residential college in the United States to have 100 percent of its electricity provided by solar energy.

The 15,000 photovoltaic-panel arrays on two fields have a capacity of 4.7 megawatts -- which means 3,000 metric tons of greenhouse-gas emissions will be eliminated a year. That is equivalent to taking almost 650 cars off the road, and enough to power about 530 homes, the college said.

That initiative includes rooftop solar arrays on its R.W. Kern Center, the CSA Barn, the president's house, and the canopy atop the Chuck and Polly Longsworth Arts Center.

The college is buying the electricity at a fixed rate from SolarCity, which built and owns the system, for about half the rate the college had been paying, according to college officials.

The project is estimated to save the college about $400,000 a year in electricity costs for up to 20 years, for total estimated savings of $8 million.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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