Green | News

Massachusetts School Completes 2 MW Solar Installation

Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA has completed construction of a 2-megawatt solar installation that will go online this fall.

The 8-acre installation, developed, engineered, and built by PowerPlay Solar, comprises 8,020 solar panels on fixed racks and 312 on solar-tracking racks, and will provide 45 percent of the school's annual energy needs. The crystalline silicon panels were manufactured by SolarWorld.

As part of a 15-year-long power purchase agreement, the school paid no upfront costs for the installation in exchange for a fixed price on the energy produced by the system over the life of the contract.

The project is part of larger sustainability efforts at Berkshire, which the school defines as "the pursuit toward three interrelated objectives," according to information on its site. The objectives are environmental integrity, economic justice, and social equity.

Sustainability initiatives at Berkshire are led by students in an elective class called Sustainability and Resource Management. Guided by faculty and staff on the school's sustainability committee, students are responsible for everything from background research and risk analysis of potential projects, to drafting and presenting proposals to the committee and reaching out to the public in an effort to create a dialogue around sustainability issues.

Other sustainable initiatives at Berkshire include:

  • Energy audits of the campus fleet and buildings performed by students;
  • Student managed outreach campaigns;
  • Emissions tracking through the Clean Air-Cool Planet calculator; and
  • A student-led life-cycle assessment program designed to reduce the environmental impact of campus goods and services.

Berkshire school is a private boarding high school serving 380 students with 61 teachers and $94 million endowment. More information on the school's sustainability efforts is available at berkshireschool.org.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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