Educational institutions such as colleges, universities and even high schools are expected to set good examples not just for students but also for the surrounding community. Schools that are trying to attract new students need to consider that offering the latest in training opportunities for relevant topics such as climate change and energy use, is one of the best ways to ensure a full classroom.
When it comes to clean energy and climate change it is important for such schools to lead rather than follow. Here is some new coming out of Minnesota in the U.S. that fits in with this thinking and will save the college millions of dollars in energy costs.
SunEdison, Inc, announced that it has signed an agreement with Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota to offset 100% of the college’s electricity use with solar energy.
Macalester College will save millions of dollars on electricity costs over the 25 year agreement by purchasing a share of output from SunEdison’s community solar gardens.
The SunEdison community solar gardens program enables customers to receive a share of electricity output from a locally sited community solar system. Each month, the customer receives credits on their electricity bill – up to 120% of their electricity usage. At the end of the year, the customer will receive payment from the utility for any excess credits which have not been used.
“We’re excited to be working with Macalester College, one of the first colleges to participate in SunEdison’s community solar gardens program,” said Sam Youneszadeh, Managing Director of Distributed Generation Western USA at SunEdison.
Our solar garden program allows customers to enjoy the benefits of solar even when they are unable to install solar systems on their property. We expect to see more schools, colleges, and universities follow Macalester College’s lead and take advantage of the solar gardens program in the near future.
“We are happy to partner with SunEdison and participate in the community solar gardens program,” said Macalester College Vice President for Finance and Administration David Wheaton.
Macalester has a long history of commitment to environmental and energy initiatives. This agreement furthers our campus sustainability goals and is a financially responsible initiative for Macalester. Given our projected consumption patterns and the expected rising trend in electricity rates over the period of the agreement, we believe that the savings over the term of the agreement could be in the millions of dollars. Those savings will begin as soon as the solar gardens are operational and will benefit both current and future students.
SunEdison plans to begin construction of the community solar gardens in 2015 and begin commercial operation in 2016. This project is on the Call Right Projects List for TerraForm Power, Inc. (Nasdaq: TERP), a global owner and operator of clean energy power plants. SunEdison anticipates offering this project to TerraForm Power for investment upon completion.
Operation and maintenance of the solar power plants will be performed by SunEdison Services, which provides global 24/7 asset management, monitoring and reporting services.
Here is an other example of a school showing leadership and moving to solar energy.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.