Brandeis University to Install 1.3 MW Solar Array to Save up to $2M in Energy Costs Over 20 Years
Solar project resulted from collaboration between Kenyon Energy, Borrego Solar, AEW Capital Management, and Competitive Energy Services with Brandeis
Four solar project partners—Competitive Energy Services, Kenyon Energy, Borrego Solar Systems and AEW Capital Management—today said they have developed a collaboration with Brandeis University on a solar energy system that will directly reduce Brandeis’ electricity costs. The system is expected to be operational in spring 2017.
Under the program, Brandeis will purchase solar energy from a 1.27 megawatt (MW) system installed on the roof of a property in Somerville, Mass., that is owned by an affiliate of AEW Capital Management. Through the utility billing mechanism known as virtual net metering, Brandeis will receive credits on its utility bill for every kilowatt hour (kWh) produced by the remotely located installation.
“We hope this is the first of many opportunities to support new solar developments in Massachusetts, and hedge against the volatile, fossil fuel-based electricity market,” said Mary Fischer, Brandeis’ Sustainability Manager. “While we continue to investigate long-term, on-site solar for our campus, this agreement is an immediate opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and fiscal responsibility.”
Fisher said that the system is expected to reduce Brandeis’ energy bill by an estimated $70,000 in the first year, and up to $2 million over 20 years.
The solar array will generate nearly 1.6 million kWhs of energy in its first year, enough to provide 3.5 percent of Brandeis’ energy needs. In Massachusetts, this amount of power is enough to offset approximately 34 million pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents over the next 20 years,1 the equivalent of eliminating 40 million vehicle miles or taking nearly 220 cars permanently off the road.
Brandeis has a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Kenyon Energy to finance the solar installation. The university will pay Kenyon Energy for the electricity generated by the solar facility at a cost significantly below its current utility rates. Brandeis is able to mitigate the risk of significant, unexpected future rate increases by contracting a predictably escalating rate through the PPA term.
Kenyon Energy, a national solar developer and financer, will own, operate, and manage the facility to ensure maximum energy generation for Brandeis across the system’s lifecycle.
“This project will bring tremendous benefit to Brandeis University,” said Ray Gonzalez, President of Kenyon Energy. “We’re delighted to help diversify the University’s energy consumption, reduce electricity costs and help Brandeis achieve important long-term sustainability goals.”
Borrego Solar—the leading solar developer, designer, installer and O&M provider in Massachusetts—built and developed the array. Borrego Solar has installed approximately 150 MW of solar in the Commonwealth. Competitive Energy Services consulted Brandeis in its effort to go solar and facilitated the contracting of Borrego Solar and the site it developed for the array.
“Brandeis and Competitive Energy have worked together on energy initiatives since 2013, and this project represents the culmination of months of investigation, analysis, and collaboration,” said Zac Bloom, director of sustainability for Competitive Energy Services.