With the installation of a ground-mount solar array at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, Bowdoin’s solar power complex — the largest in the state of Maine — is now complete.
The 1.2 megawatt complex includes approximately 4,420 solar panels at four major installations: the rooftop systems on Farley Field House, Sidney J. Watson Arena and Greason Pool, along with the 654-kW ground-mount installation on three acres owned by the college at the former Navy base.
More than six times the size of the next largest existing solar project in Maine, this system will provide about 8% of the College’s electricity. SolarCity will install an additional 12-kW system on the new residence hall at 52 Harpswell Road later this year.
“Our college is proud to be moving forward with this significant investment in clean and renewable solar energy,” said President Barry Mills.
“Our partnership with SolarCity reduces Bowdoin’s dependence on fossil fuels and makes sense for the college economically. It also provides meaningful educational opportunities for students and faculty focused on alternative energy and sustainability, and underscores Bowdoin’s continuing commitment to the responsible stewardship of our environment.”
The project is a collaboration between Bowdoin and SolarCity, the nation’s number-one solar power provider. Under the agreement, SolarCity, which financed and built the system, will own and maintain the solar installations on college property, and Bowdoin will purchase all generated power.
Bowdoin’s solar power initiative is the latest effort to support renewable energy at the Brunswick campus and helps advance the college’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2020, according to S. Catherine Longley, Bowdoin’s senior vice president of finance and administration & treasurer.
Earlier electrical efficiency projects include the installation of a cogeneration facility in the central heating plant and the installation of solar thermal panels on the roof of Thorne Hall and the Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center.