Solar Energy Companies Collaborate with Brandeis University
LOWELL, MA – Four solar project partners — Competitive Energy Services, Kenyon Energy, Borrego Solar Systems and AEW Capital Management — have developed a collaboration with Brandeis University on a solar energy system that will directly reduce Brandeis’ electricity costs. The system is expected to be operational in spring 2017.
Under the program, Brandeis will purchase solar energy from a 1.27 megawatt (MW) system installed on the roof of a property in Somerville, MA, which is owned by an affiliate of AEW Capital Management. Through the utility billing mechanism known as virtual net metering, Brandeis will receive credits on its utility bill for every kilowatt hour (kWh) produced by the remotely located installation.
“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,” says 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.”
Fisher said that the system is expected to reduce Brandeis’ energy bill by an estimated $70,000 in the first year, and up to $2 million over 20 years.
The solar array will generate nearly 1.6 million kWhs of energy in its first year, enough to provide 3.5 percent of Brandeis’ energy needs. In Massachusetts, this amount of power is enough to offset approximately 34 million pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents over the next 20 years,1 the equivalent of eliminating 40 million vehicle miles or taking nearly 220 cars permanently off the road.
Brandeis has a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (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. Brandeis is able to mitigate the risk of significant, unexpected future rate increases by contracting a predictably escalating rate through the PPA term.
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.
“This project will bring tremendous benefit to Brandeis University,” said Ray Gonzalez, President of Kenyon Energy. “We’re delighted to help diversify the University’s energy consumption, reduce electricity costs and help Brandeis achieve important long-term sustainability goals.”
Borrego Solar — a solar developer, designer, installer and O&M provider in Massachusetts — built and developed the array. Borrego Solar has installed approximately 150 MW of solar in the Commonwealth. Competitive Energy Services consulted Brandeis in its effort to go solar and facilitated the contracting of Borrego Solar and the site it developed for the array.
“Brandeis and Competitive Energy have worked together on energy initiatives since 2013, and this project represents the culmination of months of investigation, analysis, and collaboration,” says Zac Bloom, director of sustainability for Competitive Energy Services.
About Brandeis University
Brandeis University is a highly competitive private research university with a focus on undergraduate education. Founded in 1948 by the American Jewish community and named for Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Brandeis embraces the values of academic excellence, critical thinking, openness to all, and making the world a better place. Brandeis is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), which represents the 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada. Located just west of Boston in Waltham, MA, Brandeis’ distinguished faculty are dedicated to the education and support of 3,600 undergraduates and more than 2,000 graduate students.
About Kenyon Energy
Kenyon Energy finances, plans, develops, and operates distributed and grid connected, solar power facilities delivering renewable electricity nationwide. Since 2009, Kenyon Energy has been a leading national provider of commercial, industrial and utility scale solar solutions developing a reputation as one of the industry's most reliable partners. Kenyon Energy and affiliates comprise a national, independent power producer providing direct, solar-generated electricity to municipalities, utilities and corporations.
About Borrego Solar
Established in 1980, Borrego Solar Systems, Inc. is one of the leading designers, developers, installers and O&M providers of commercial and utility photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems in the U.S. with more than 290 megawatts (MW) of installations in operation and nearly 100 MW currently under construction. The company’s mission is to solve the world's energy problems by accelerating the adoption of renewable energy. Its people are committed to excellence in every aspect of solar design, construction and operation.
About Competitive Energy Services
Competitive Energy Services is an independent energy advisory firm that provides strategic energy consulting services for commercial, industrial, governmental and institutional customers throughout the United States and Canada. CES manages energy procurement activities on behalf of clients for energy commodities and renewable energy systems ng unparalleled market insight and a powerful, multi-supplier competitive bid system. Other services range from energy risk management, budgeting and hedging strategies, to greenhouse gas accounting and climate action planning.
About AEW Capital Management
Founded in 1981, AEW Capital Management, L.P. (AEW) provides real estate investment management services to investors worldwide. AEW and its affiliates manage $55.8 billion of property and securities in North America, Europe and Asia (as of June 30, 2016). Grounded in research and experienced in the complexities of the real estate and capital markets, AEW actively manages portfolios in both the public and private property markets and across the risk/return spectrum. AEW and its affiliates have offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Boston, Los Angeles, London and Paris, as well as additional offices in nine European cities.