Hampshire College becomes first U.S. college to go 100% solar

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AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Hampshire College has begun installing 15,000 solar panels on its campus making it the first U.S. residential college to go 100% solar.

The solar panels are being installed on about 19 acres of its 840-acre campus. The college’s goal is to produce 100% of campus electricity from on-site renewable energy on an annualized basis.

The two solar systems together will have a generation capacity that will be enough to power about 500 American homes. The loss of carbon emission that would be equivalent to taking almost 650 cars off the road.

This is the largest-known on-campus system among colleges and universities in New England and one of the largest in the Eastern part of the U.S. It is estimated to be completed by the end of this year.

SolarCity partnered with Hampshire College and will build and operate the solar arrays and battery system. Hampshire will buy the electricity from SolarCity at a fixed rate that is lower than what the college pays for electricity now.

Hampshire College is estimating that it will save up to $400,000 per year for 20 years and up to $8 million total in electricity costs.

Actor Mark Ruffalo is one of many who recognized Hampshire College when it announced its 100% solar plan last winter.The story was originally published on WWLP.com. 

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