Gosman solar panels now generating power

Community members can monitor the energy production online

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More than 1,200 high-efficiency photo-voltaic modules atop the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center began generating power on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Alteris Renewables, a local renewable energy firm, mounted the panels on the southerly-facing roof surfaces in November, December and January. The 271 kilowatt system is one of the largest solar photovoltaic systems in the state, and has an expected lifespan of more than 25 years.

Community members can monitor the energy production online. It will produce an estimated 300,000 kilowatt hours per year, or about 10 percent of Gosman's yearly power use.

Alteris worked with EOS Ventures, a renewable energy company focusing on wind and solar financing and development, to enable Brandeis to avoid the substantial upfront capital investment that solar entails through a third party arrangement called a power purchase agreement (PPA). PPAs are a contract to buy electricity, in this case from the EOS-owned solar panels on the Brandeis campus instead of from the electric utility. This contract is expected to save the university nearly as much as $1 million over the life of the system.

Solar energy is just one part of the Brandeis Climate Action Plan, which sets a long-term goal of making the campus climate neutral by 2050 and sets shorter-term milestones, such as an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 to 15 percent below 2008 levels.

Community members can learn more about renewable energy and using energy more efficiently on the Campus Sustainability Web site.

Watch a video about the solar panel announcement, and the university's sustainability efforts.

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