500-Kilowatt Rooftop Solar Power System Installed at Harvard
Harvard University’s first large rooftop solar power system, a 500-kilowatt SunPower system, has been installed on the roof of one of the historic buildings that comprise the Arsenal on the Charles complex in Watertown, MA, a former military installation purchased by Harvard in 2001. The announcement was made by CarbonFree Technology, Integrys Energy Services and SunPower.
CarbonFree Technology estimates that the solar power system will generate the equivalent of the amount of power required for 83 average Massachusetts homes each year. Based on the average carbon intensity of grid electricity in Massachusetts, this output will offset the equivalent of 367 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
“The multi-story building was erected during World War I and is an ideal site for solar, with a flat, unshaded roof,” said Joseph Gregory, assistant director of sustainability at Harvard Real Estate Services. “Despite the age of the building, the roof has been upgraded and has a long expected life, making it perfect for this system.”
Harvard put the project out to tender with a request for proposals in March 2009, seeking bidders interested in installing, owning and operating a solar power system. CarbonFree Technology led the winning bid, working with SunPower to design and install the system and provide operations and maintenance services.
“We are delighted to see Harvard play a leading role in the adoption of solar power in Massachusetts, and among academic institutions nationwide,” said David Oxtoby, CEO of CarbonFree Technology. “We believe this is a clear win for Harvard, and an excellent fit with the university’s environmental goals.”
The system features the SunPower T5 Solar Roof Tile, the solar industry’s first non-penetrating rooftop product that combines a high-efficiency SunPower solar panel, frame and mounting system into a single pre-engineered unit. Tilted at a five-degree angle, the T5 Roof Tile system approximately doubles the energy generated per square meter compared to systems that are mounted flat onto commercial rooftops.
“It is clear to us that Harvard has a serious commitment to environmental sustainability, and is looking for ways to creatively reduce operating costs on campus,” said Tom Leyden, managing director at SunPower. “We feel this project serves both objectives. The T5 Roof Tile will deliver more solar energy per square meter and greater energy savings than conventional systems.”
The system is owned by Crimson Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Integrys Energy Services. Harvard has committed to buy the power generated from the system, and the associated solar renewable energy certificates, for 25 years at a pre-determined rate, with no upfront capital cost.
“We are delighted and honored to help Harvard deliver on its commitment towards achieving its meaningful environmental and energy goals,” said Joel Jansen, managing director of energy assets for Integrys Energy Services. “The leadership demonstrated by Harvard on this project should serve as a model, inspiring others to take an active role in protecting the environment and managing their energy. We are pleased to be part of this project.”
The project is also made possible thanks to a $1.1 million rebate provided by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, to promote the installation of grid-tied photovoltaic systems.