Tufts University in Massachusetts has welcomed two new solar installations located atop buildings on its Medford/Somerville campus.
The projects are expected to generate 161,000 kWh of renewable energy for the university and surrounding community. In addition, Tufts is expected to save approximately $187,000 over the next 20 years.
The projects were made possible through a power purchase agreement between Tufts and Massachusetts-based developer Solect Energy. Through this structure, a developer funds the purchase and installation of a solar system on a customer’s property – in this case, Tufts’ campus – and then sells the electricity generated from the array to the host and community at a discount to retail rates.
Project owner and operator Solect installed the project in collaboration with PowerOptions, an energy-buying consortium for public entities and nonprofits.
“This agreement is a win for all involved. While Solect retains the renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the solar production, Tufts maintains its commitment to making sustainability a university priority by contributing to the decarbonization of the New England electrical grid, which helps reduce our carbon footprint,” states Barbara Stein, vice president of operations at Tufts. “Solect Energy, in turn, will sell the RECs to the utility, National Grid, helping it meet its requirements under the Massachusetts renewable energy portfolio standard.”
Lewis Hall, a resident building, has a 216-panel rooftop array, expected to produce about 100,000 kWh/year. A 136-panel array on the roof of the Science and Engineering Complex is expected to generate about 61,000 kWh/year.
In all, Tufts has six solar arrays on its various campuses. The school’s commitment to carbon neutrality is one of several goals it adopted as part of Second Nature’s Climate Commitment, signed by Tufts in 2016.
Tufts is currently planning to continue working with Solect to install two more solar systems, including a 340 kW project on the Gantcher Family Sports and Convocation Center. In addition, Tufts plans to install an energy storage system to increase resilience and further lower costs.