Wesleyan has hired Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, a Middletown-based solar energy company, to construct a new ground-mounted solar array at the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Road. The 750 kW-AC solar PV array will produce 1.2 million kilowatt hours of clean renewable energy each year.
Construction will begin in spring 2016, and the project is expected to be completed by Sept. 1, 2016. The array will be set back from the road, and screened by the arboretum along Long Lane.
“We are excited to partner with Greenskies on this project, which will take us closer toward our goal of a carbon neutral campus,” said John Meerts, vice president for finance and administration. “The new solar array will help us reduce costs while increasing our energy self-reliance, together with our two natural gas co-generation facilities.”
“When completed, the PV array has the potential to be a great learning opportunity for students and helps to move our campus in a sustainable direction,” said Sustainability Director Jen Kleindienst.
The new solar PV array will work in collaboration with two existing natural gas co-generation facilities on the Wesleyan campus and will supply power directly to the university’s existing microgrid. The plan also calls for several campus buildings that are not currently part of the microgrid system to be tied into the network. Read more about Wesleyan’s microgrid here.
Wesleyan currently has three solar arrays on campus: at the Freeman Athletic Center (about 200 kW), at 19 Fountain (7.2 kW), and on the Admission building (about 3 kW).
Wesleyan awarded the project to Greenskies after a competitive bidding process. Wesleyan and Greenskies will enter into a power-purchase agreement, where Greenskies will design, develop, finance, own and maintain the solar installation for the next 20 years at no cost to the university while Wesleyan agrees to purchase 100 percent of the electricity produced at the site at a significantly discounted rate.