Collaborative Solar Facility Powers 5 Leading New England Colleges

Highlights :

  • Launched in 2018, the New England College Renewable Partnership is a first-of-its-kind collaboration among five liberal arts institutions: Amherst, Bowdoin, Hampshire, Smith and Williams.
  • Each of the colleges is purchasing zero-carbon electricity from the Farmington facility to reduce carbon emissions from campus electricity use.

An innovative collaborative energy project has started delivering electricity to five New England colleges—and to tens of thousands of students, staff and faculty—as a new solar energy facility has gone online in Farmington, Maine, US.

facebook twitter linkdin instagram

Launched in 2018, the New England College Renewable Partnership is a first-of-its-kind collaboration among five leading New England liberal arts institutions: Amherst, Bowdoin, Hampshire, Smith and Williams.

Over the past three years, the colleges have contracted with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, a leading clean energy company, to construct a utility-scale solar power facility that annually will create enough electricity to power about 17,000 New England homes. Competitive Energy Services acted as an adviser on the project.

Each of the colleges is purchasing zero-carbon electricity from the Farmington facility to reduce carbon emissions from campus electricity use.

The New England College Renewable Partnership is important both for what it does, and for what it represents. On a practical level:

  • The Farmington facility is creating new solar electricity in New England—not an easy accomplishment, given the area’s geography and terrain.
  • The partnership helps each school manage costs by “locking in” the price of electricity for the next 20 years.
  • The new solar energy generated by the facility will have a significant impact on sustainability, moving each of the five campuses closer to their climate action goals.
  • The Farmington project has already had a significant economic impact, as well: the project created approximately 500 temporary construction jobs; it will generate tax revenue of nearly $17 million over its 30-year lifespan; it has generated capital expenditures of approximately $150 million.

At a strategic level, the New England College Renewable Partnership—the first such collaboration among New England schools—is consistent with collaborations occurring in the corporate sphere. The colleges collaborating around the Farmington effort hope that their partnership will inspire other institutions to work together on similar projects, allowing them to take advantage of shared efficiencies and economies of scale.

“Bowdoin celebrates this important milestone with our partner colleges from Massachusetts,” said Bowdoin College President Clayton Rose. “We’re proud to be part of a project that stands as an important example of how collective actions at institutions like ours can make a meaningful difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s an especially exciting time for Bowdoin, as our involvement in this solar project is part of a larger effort to source 100% of Bowdoin’s electricity purchases from Maine-based renewable energy.”

“Collaborations like these are rare, but hold great promise for innovation in higher education,” said Smith College President Kathleen McCartney. “This groundbreaking partnership reflects Smith’s strong commitment to leadership and action regarding environmental sustainability, and moves us significantly closer to reaching our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. Given the devastating effects that climate change is having across the world, I am proud that Smith is collaborating with peer colleges to move us toward solutions.”

"Want to be featured here or have news to share? Write to info[at]saurenergy.com
      SUBSCRIBE NEWS LETTER
Scroll