Tufts has six solar arrays on its various campuses that help make the power grid greener. They also help Tufts save money: the university spends about 60 percent less for solar-generated power than it does to purchase electricity from National Grid. Read about these projects below.
Cummings School - Grafton Campus
In 2017, two large solar installations were installed on Tufts Grafton campus, generating 3.8 MW (DC) of power generation. This is expected to save the university up to $5.3 million over the next 20 years. The arrays are owned, operated and maintained by NRG Energy through an agreement negotiated by PowerOptions. The solar installations, the largest allowed by existing regulations, will be supplemented with power from National Grid. NRG retains the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) for Cummings School’s installations.
Dowling Roof Solar
The solar array installed on the roof of Dowling Hall is a 99kW DC solar array consisting of 304 SunPower 327 watt solar panels. It produces approximately 125,000kWh of energy annually. This system allows Tufts University to reduce its monthly expenditure on electricity and helps Massachusetts utility providers meet their renewable energy goals. The solar array was installed by SunBug Solar and commenced operation on April 30th, 2014.
Hodgdon Solar Charging Stations
In the Spring of 2018, The Tufts Energy Group (TEG) submitted a project to the Tufts Green Fund proposing the installation of solar panels on Hodgdon Hall to electrify outlets. TEG is a student-led group that focuses on engaging and educating the Tufts community about energy issues, has been working for the past two years on making solar power more accessible to Tufts students and faculty. With the help of the Green Fund, the group was able to $6,500 towards the solar panel installation, in addition to $5,500 matched by Tufts University and a $10,000 grant from SubBug solar in 2013.
With this funding, TEG was able to facilitate the installation of visible and accessible solar panels on the south side wall of Hodgdon Hall. The energy produced is available for use by students to charge their electronic devices on the patio and in the common room during the months that the patio is not in use.
At the end of 2018, 216 solar panels were installed on the the roof of Lewis Hall (83.2 kW), expected to produce about 100,000 kWh a year. The Lewis Hall array is part of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Tufts established with the commercial energy company Solect Energy in 2018. Tufts has been able to install solar arrays free of charge through PPAs, contracts in which a developer funds the purchase and installation of a solar energy system on a customer’s property, and then sells the RECs generated by that solar system to the customer so it can meet renewable energy requirements.
Sophia Gordon Hall
Solar thermal and photovoltaic rooftop arrays on Sophia Gordon Hall produce approximately 25,000 kWh per year, and the building's design optimizes energy performance to achieve a 30% reduction in overall energy use.
Science and Engineering Complex (SEC)
The SEC has a 52.36 kW array on its roof, with 136 solar panels that generates about 61,000 kWh per year. This array was also installed in 2018 through a PPA with Solect. Tufts did not retain the RECs.