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U.S. Higher Education Institutions Move Forward with Renewable Energy

September 2015 - An increasing number of higher education institutions in the United States are pursuing renewable energy projects.

A 500-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) project is under construction to power more than half of Vermont Law School's current electricity demand while reducing the school's greenhouse gas emissions. The school selected Tunbridge Solar to develop the 4-acre PV project. The school will purchase the net-metered electricity output and renewable energy certificates generated by the project. Also in Vermont, Goddard College and groSolar have teamed up on a 500-kW solar project. The energy will provide about 68 percent of the school's total power needs while saving the school about $85,500 over the next 10 years.

Elizabethtown College, together with Community Energy, is building a 2.6-megawatt (MW) ground-mounted solar PV system on ten acres of land owned by the College in Mount Joy Township. The college used a $500,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority to fund the project. The solar project will produce over 3 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, enough to offset approximately 20 percent of Elizabethtown College's annual electricity use.

In partnership with PowerOptions and SunEdison, a 3.2-megawatt solar array covering 800 parking spaces is under construction on five acres of Bristol Community College's Fall River Campus in Massachusetts. The project will produce over 34 million kWh of electricity per year, making it the largest solar parking canopy in New England. The college will buy the project's output at a fixed price under a 20-year power purchase agreement with SunEdison. The generated power will be enough to serve half of the campus's electricity needs and will save the school more than $1.75 million over the contract period.

Last, Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Missouri, installed solar panels on 18 school buildings. The solar project was fully funded through Kansas City Power and Light's Solar Power Rebate Program and is expected to save the school about $370,000 on energy costs over the next 20 years.

News Release - 500-kW Solar Project Under Way to Meet over Half of Vermont Law School's Electric Energy Needs

News Release - Largest higher education-sited solar array in Pennsylvania begins at Elizabethtown College

News Release - Goddard, groSolar Sign Net Metering Agreement for Solar Power

News Release - Governor, Top Leaders Unveil New England's Largest Solar Parking Canopy at Bristol Community College

News Article - Solar panels installed at Metropolitan Community College, expected to save thousands in long run

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