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By PBN Staff
By PBN Staff
EASTON – Construction has begun on a 2.7-megawatt solar field comprising 9,000 solar panels at an unused parcel of land across from Stonehill College’s main campus.
When the field is completed, it will be the 11th largest solar installation on any U.S. college campus and the largest on any New England campus, Stonehill said.
The solar field is expected to produce enough energy to account for 20 percent of Stonehill’s electrical usage and will save the college more than $185,000 annually, or an estimated $3.2 million over the course of the 15-year contract the school has signed with New Jersey-based Marina Energy, which owns and operates the field.
“The solar field is an extension to our Catholic commitment to care for creation and sustainability,” said Rev. James Lies, the college’s vice president for mission, in a statement. “We have a responsibility to use our gifts and expertise to advocate for environmental justice and to create sustainable development options.”
Solect Energy of Hopkinton, Mass., is constructing the solar field, overseen by energy consulting firm Power Management Inc. Solect Energy broke ground on the project in fall 2013 and the array is scheduled to be completed in early 2014, Stonehill said.
“It has been a pleasure working in collaboration with Stonehill, Power Management and Marina Energy on a project of this magnitude,” says Scott Howe, partner at Solect Energy Development. “Stonehill is establishing itself as a shining example of how a college can reap the benefits of making a huge commitment to sustainability by using renewable solar energy to power its campus.”
Once the solar field is completed, students and visitors to the college will be able to monitor the energy output from the solar field in real time on a screen at Stonehill College’s Shield Science Center.
In addition to the 15-acre solar field, the college has also installed roof-top solar panels on two of its facilities storage buildings and has plans to install more roof-top panels throughout campus in the future.