Campus Solar
Campus Solar

Project Description

As part of a long-term commitment to increasing clean, renewable energy generation on the UMass Amherst campus, the University installed solar array installations during the 2016 calendar year, bringing over 5 Megawatts (MW) DC of renewable, solar energy to the campus. The project has been financed and is owned by Con Edison Energy.  UMass Amherst did not use capital funds to build the solar array systems.  Washington DC-based Sol Systems and New York-based Con Edison financed the cost of all equipment, installation and operations associated with the solar arrays.

The work included installation of over 14,600 LG PV panels, each rated between 310 and 365 watts as well as the use of Yaskawa-Solectria Inverters.  The PV panels were installed on the roofs of five existing buildings and on new, steel canopy parking structures manufactured by Solaire Generation built on two existing asphalt parking lots at the UMass Amherst campus.  The canopies have a 13-ft 6-inch clear height to allow cars and trucks to park under them. 


Project Locations & Generation

Solar arrays have been installed in the following locations on campus:

Building Roof-tops: (System Size kW AC)
Recreations Center (241 kW)
Computer Science (154 kW)
Champions Center (250 kW)
Fine Arts Center (155 kW)
Police Station (30 kW)

Parking Lot Canopies:
Lot 25 (1,927 kW)
Lot 44 North (2,575 kW)

Total System Capacity: 5,335 kW (5.3 MW DC), or 4 MW AC
Annual Estimated Generation: 5,900,000 kWh*
*Equivalent to annual electric energy consumption of 860 residential homes in Massachusetts.


Project Impacts

The solar array installation on Parking Lot 25 encompasses 4.6 acres and the installation on Lot 44 encompasses 7.0 acres.  No new impervious surfaces have been created as part of these installations.  The solar array installations will not increase storm water run-off or sewer discharges, will not create any additional traffic, and will not impact any endangered species habitat.


Project Benefits

  • Reduce the emissions from the ISO-NE grid by about 31,456 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCo2e) over 20 years (1,573 tons per year). 
  • Save UMass Amherst roughly $3.6 million in net present value of avoided electricity and forward capacity market costs over the next 20 years.
  • Reduce the campus consumption of fuel oil, natural gas, and propane used to generate electric power at the UMass Amherst Central Heating Plant and avoid purchasing electric power from off-site sources. 
  • Reduce the campus peak electric demand by roughly 2.2 megawatts when the ISO- NE system peak occurs.  This represents a decrease of roughly 10% in the existing 22 mw peak demand that the campus currently experiences.
  • Provide year-round shade to parked cars in Lots 25 and 44.
  • Provide the University with educational opportunities for UMass Amherst students in the form of student internships, career mentorship, and solar presentations.
  • The project did not require the use of capital funds to build the solar array system, as the developer, Brightergy will finance the cost of all equipment, installation and operations associated with the solar arrays.