Stonehill College Takes Campus Solar Plan to New Heights with Solect Energy Development

Solect Energy Development and Marina Energy build 2.7 MW solar array as first phase of Stonehill College's solar plan; will cover 20% of college's electricity needs

North Easton, MA January 06, 2014


Stonehill College, a private, four-year liberal arts college located in southeastern Massachusetts, is deploying one of the largest solar installations on a college campus in New England: a 2.7 megawatt (MW) pole-mounted solar array that will cover 20 percent of the college's electricity use. The solar array – phase 1 of a plan that will ultimately include rooftop installations across campus and other potential projects – is being completed in partnership with solar project developer Solect Energy Development of Hopkinton, MA, Stonehill's energy consultant Power Management Company New England, LLC, and financing partner Marina Energy LLC, a subsidiary of South Jersey Industries.

The solar array – which encompasses 15 acres on the Davis Ames Clock Farm land adjacent to the campus – is a major part of the college's "Stonehill Goes Green" sustainability initiatives. These include single-stream recycling, composting, retrofitting buildings with motion sensors and energy-efficient lighting, water conservation efforts, and Freshmen Green Kits that encourage incoming students to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

"The solar field is an extension of Stonehill's Catholic commitment to care for creation and sustainability. It gives further indication of our commitment, on every level, to preserving the resources that are in our care for future generations," said Rev. James Lies, C.S.C., Stonehill's vice president for mission.

Stonehill was able to take on such a large-scale project by entering a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Marina Energy LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of South Jersey Industries that develops, owns and operates on-site energy projects. As part of the PPA, Marina leases the 15-acre property from Stonehill, but owns the solar photovoltaic (PV) system. Marina is able to benefit from federal tax incentives equating to 30 percent of the project cost, and from the sale of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) based on the volume of electricity the solar array produces. Marina will sell 100 percent of the power from the array to the school at a reduced rate. This "behind the meter" usage is expected to help the college save an estimated $3.2 million in electricity costs over the course of the 15-year agreement.

"As we await the implementation of SREC II regulations, we are very excited to begin this project with Stonehill College," said Steve Poniatowicz, senior vice president & chief operating officer of Marina Energy. "We have twice participated in the Massachusetts SREC I program with great success and regard the state as a forward-thinking leader in the renewable energy movement. The attributes shared with New Jersey's solar program leaves us confident in this partnership of financial savings, improved efficiency, and increased green sector jobs."

"It has been a pleasure working with Stonehill, Power Management and Marina Energy on a project of this magnitude," said Scott Howe, Partner at Solect Energy Development. "Stonehill is establishing itself as a shining example of how a college can reap the benefits of making a huge commitment to sustainability by using renewable solar energy to power its campus."

To learn more about the Stonehill College Solar Field, visit http://www.stonehill.edu/solar.

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