Brandeis University Virtual-Net-Metered Solar Array to Save $2M Over 20 Years

Brandeis University, located in the Boston metropolitan area, expects to reduce its long-term energy bills through a PPA the school signed on January 13 to obtain solar power from a 1.27-MW rooftop system installed on a property in the city of Somerville, Massachusetts.

Specifically, the system is anticipated to save the school an estimated $70,000 over the first 12 months of the deal – and up to $2 million over the next 20 years.

Through the utility billing mechanism known as virtual net metering, Brandeis will receive credits on its utility bill for every kWh produced by the remotely located installation. It is expected to generate nearly 1.6 million kWh of energy in its first year, enough to cover 3.5 percent of Brandeis’ energy needs

The building on which the rooftop array is installed is owned by an affiliate of AEW Capital Management, a real estate investment management services group.

Before the deal was sealed, Brandeis consulted with Competitive Energy Services  to facilitate the contracting of Borrego Solar and the site it developed for the array.

Borrego Solar – a solar developer, designer, installer and O&M provider—built and developed the array. To date, Borrego says it has installed approximately 150 MW of solar statewide.

Brandeis signed the PPA with Kenyon Energy to finance the solar installation. The university will pay Kenyon Energy for the electricity generated by the solar facility at a cost significantly below its current utility rates.

Kenyon Energy, a national solar developer and financier, will own, operate, and manage the facility to ensure maximum energy generation for Brandeis across the system’s lifecycle.

the university believes that it will “be able to mitigate the risk of significant, unexpected future rate increases by contracting a predictably escalating rate through the PPA term.”

“We’re delighted to help diversify the university’s energy consumption, reduce electricity costs and help Brandeis achieve important long-term sustainability goals,” commented Ray Gonzalez, president of Kenyon Energy.

“We hope this is the first of many opportunities to support new solar developments in Massachusetts, and hedge against the volatile, fossil fuel-based electricity market,” said Mary Fischer, Brandeis’ Sustainability manager. “While we continue to investigate long-term, on-site solar for our campus, this agreement is an immediate opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and fiscal responsibility.”

Indeed, the university has had on-site solar generation since February 2010, when the school installed more than 1,200 high-efficiency photovoltaic modules atop the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center. Alteris Renewables installed the 271-kW system, with an expected lifespan of more than 25 years.

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