Five liberal arts colleges in New England recently formed a partnership that will allow them to offset 46,000 MWh per year of their collective electrical needs from a new solar project to be built in Farmington, Maine.
Amherst, Bowdoin, Hampshire, Smith and Williams colleges are partnering with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, which will construct a utility-scale solar power facility that annually will create enough electricity to power about 5,000 New England homes. Competitive Energy Services acted as advisor to the colleges.
Each of the colleges will purchase zero-carbon electricity from the Maine site to reduce carbon emissions from campus electricity use. The facility is expected to open in 2019.
According to the partners, the New England College Renewable Partnership offers the following benefits:
• It facilitates the development of additional solar electricity generation in New England;
• It will have a significant sustainability impact, moving each of the five campuses closer to their climate-action goals;
• It helps each school manage costs by locking in the price of electricity for the next 20 years; and
• It provides market access that would not have been available to individual institutions and offers a scalable model that other colleges and universities can follow.