New Solar Panels to Generate Power On Two Buildings
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.– Two new photo voltaic panel installations are expected to begin generating power at Smith College this winter, producing clean electric energy and lowering carbon emissions. The solar arrays are Smith’s latest efforts toward reaching carbon neutrality by 2030.
More than 1,500 panels will be installed on the flat roof and sloped parapet facing West Street of the Indoor Track & Tennis (ITT) facility and atop Ford Hall, on the sloped roof facing Belmont Avenue.
The pair of systems is expected to produce about 550,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, which is roughly enough to power 60 homes. By comparison, the array on the roof of the Campus Center produces about 30,000 kilowatt hours a year.
“We’ve always envisioned that Ford Hall would have photovoltaic panels,” said Deirdre Manning, Smith Director of Environmental Sustainability. “It adds to the building’s many other high-performance features.”
Ford Hall, home to science and engineering, earned gold-level LEED certification for its green design. Among other features, the building manages water consumption through low-flow fixtures and use of captured rainwater. Construction of Ford Hall also reduced the overall storm water runoff at the site by 25 percent through a sophisticated detention system, and a 20,000 square foot planted roof.
As was the case with the Campus Center solar array, the two newest systems will be financed through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). SunEdison is the owner of the system and Smith, as the host, purchases the power and, for the second half of the twenty year contract will purchase the green attributes of the power as well.
Smith will augment the power produced by the panels with power generated by the college’s high-efficiency cogeneration power plant and with electricity from the grid.
Installation of the solar arrays is expected to begin at the end of October.
Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. One of the largest women’s colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,600 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries.