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Published on August 17th, 2015 | by Derek Markham


3.2 MW Solar Parking Canopy Unveiled At Bristol Community College

August 17th, 2015 by  

A new 3.2 MW solar parking canopy covering 800 parking spaces across five acres at the Bristol Community College’s Fall River Campus is the largest of its kind in New England.

The solar array will supply about half of the entire electricity needs of the entire campus, and is planned to “be a major part” of the Zero Net Energy plans for the campus’ John J. Sbrega Health and Science Building (currently under construction). The electricity produced by the solar parking canopy, when combined with the passive solar design of the new building and the installation of geothermal wells, are key elements of the Zero Net Energy plan.

The solar canopy was built in partnership with PowerOptions, a nonprofit energy-buying consortium, and its solar partner SunEdison, with whom Bristol Community College has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement to buy the electricity from the solar array. It’s estimated that the new solar parking canopy will generate more than 34 million kWh of electricity annually, and provide a savings of more than $1.75 million to the campus over the next 20 years. SunEdison will be managing the operation, monitoring, and maintenance of the new system.

“Bristol Community College is committed to sustainable energy and lessening our impact on the planet. This public-private collaboration is a model for energy generation and usage, and Bristol Community College is taking a leading role in finding solutions to address the enormous power needs of modern higher education.” – John J. Sbrega, Ph.D., President of Bristol Community College

This project is the latest example of what the PowerOptions Solar Program, which was launched in 2012, can do for educational institutions, nonprofits, and municipalities, by providing affordable and sustainable clean energy solutions:

“Our mission is to help state agencies and nonprofits navigate the complicated and costly energy market and reinvest any savings of time and money back into their missions, so this canopy is a measurable win-win for Bristol Community College, its students and the entire Commonwealth. We’re delighted to be showing off the biggest canopy in the region but the best benefit is in allowing the college to focus on and reinvest in its core mission.” – Cynthia Arcate, PowerOptions President and CEO

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About the Author

Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!

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