If you haven’t walked down Farnham Avenue lately, you should! A brand new solar array is under construction in parking lot 9 next to Brownell Hall. The array, comprised of more than 3,000 individual solar panels, has been in planning for several years and will generate 1.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity every year. Once operational, this solar power will lower Southern’s electricity bill an estimated $60,000 a year.
The project is made possible by a partnership with CT Green Bank and GE Solar, optimizing federal and state renewable energy incentives and a financing structure called a power purchase agreement (PPA). “SCSU is not investing a single penny of capital in the project, and we will lower utility spending as soon as we flip the switch,” said Eric Lessne, associate director of planning and engineering for the CSCU system. “The SCSU community can take pride in this project,” added Robert Sheeley, associate vice president of capital budgeting and facilities operations. “Clean renewable energy from the sun means cleaner air and water, a healthier community, and an important step toward reaching our sustainability goals.”
“This is exciting! We’re already planning a second project for the academic side of campus,” said Suzie Huminski, Southern’s sustainability coordinator. She also keeps the project in perspective. “In taking this big step with climate action, it is more important than ever to make sure that when we use electricity, we’re using it wisely. Believe it or not, we’ll create more environmental benefit simply through conservation than we can installing solar. Turn off those lights and equipment when you are not using them.”