Dickinson College has taken a step towards taking control of its electricity usage with the installation of 12,456 solar panels on a 12-acre plot adjacent to the school. The system represents about 5 solar panels per student and will offset 25% of the usage of the electricity used by the school each year.
The solar system was designed and installed by Tesla, which includes maintenance and monitoring of the system over the 25-year term of the power purchase agreement (PPA). In return, the college will purchase all of the power generated by the array, including the renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the system. Renewable energy credits represent the “green” aspect of power generation and can be sold or traded to companies or individuals looking to virtually purchase the right to claim usage of green power.
Keeping the RECs at the school allows the school to truly claim that it is generating and using renewable, sustainable solar power. “The solar project will reduce Dickinson’s carbon emissions by more than any other Climate Action Plan project to date,” said Associate Vice President for Sustainability & Facilities Planning, Ken Shultes. “If you think of it on a per-student basis, it will reduce each student’s carbon emissions by one metric ton per year.”
To keep the solution from getting too green, the school plans to enlist a work crew of sheep that will be tasked with keeping the grass around the 12-acre array in check. The new installation continues a long history of sustainability actions at the school, including existing solar arrays at the school’s Kaufman Hall, Waidner-Spahr Library, the Treehouse, the Trellis, and the College Farm.
In addition to the solar installations, the school runs an annual energy savings competition that pits the houses of the school against each other in a data-based competition to drive energy savings. The results of the competition are published online along with actual kilowatt-hours saved, which ultimately translate to real cash saved by the school.
Dickinson College was one of 23 U.S. colleges and universities that made the Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll last year, taking home the highest possible score of all honorees.
Source: Dickinson College