Tufts University Adds New Solar System

Photovoltaic Array Supports City, State Efforts to Solarize
November 13, 2013

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Kim Thurler

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MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass.(Nov  13, 2013) —   A new roof-mounted photovoltaic system slated for  Tufts University's Medford/Somerville campus  will  generate 125,000 kWh of renewable power for the school.  Plans call for operation early next year, pending installation and permitting. The 99kW array is a capstone for the city of Medford's just completed campaign to "solarize" the city and also supports green efforts fostered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy Resources.

SunBug Solar of Somerville will design, supply, install, own, operate and maintain the  grid-interconnected system to be located on the flat roof of busy Dowling Hall, which houses a variety of student and administrative services as well as a parking garage.  Tufts will purchase the power, which will be less costly than conventional power, according to Betsy Isenstein, director of facilities technical services at Tufts.

The project aligns with Tufts' historic commitment to environmental sustainability, noted Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco. The Campus Sustainability Council established by Monaco has identified energy and water use, waste management and greenhouse gas emissions production as among its first priorities for action. "As a university, we have a special role  in helping address important global issues such as climate change and resource depletion and a responsibility to use our campus as a learning laboratory," Monaco said. "We are proud to work with the City of Medford, the Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy Resources in support of sustainability."

SunBug Solar also plans to sponsor a “Solarize Tufts Challenge”-- a design contest that will encourage students to submit designs for practical yet innovative ‘off-grid’ solar powered charging stations to power up mobile devices.  SunBug will provide $10,000 to fund the construction and installation of the winning design by the university.

Adding to the educational benefit of the system will be a high-performance online monitoring system.  This monitoring system will show solar energy produced, environmental benefits, financial benefits and system specifications.  The system could be linked to the Tufts website and potentially displayed in the high-traffic lobby of Dowling Hall.

Power production over 25 years is estimated at 3,041,927 kWh.  The solar array will be installed at a 10 degree tilt parallel to the building lines facing southeast.

The new photovoltaic system is the latest renewable energy initiative at Tufts, which has both a photovoltaic  and a solar thermal system at LEED Gold Certified Sophia Gordon Hall.

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Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university is widely encouraged.