sleek and uniform so it has
a black frame and a black
backsheet,” explained Lassonde, adding “so it will look
For Kansas City-based
Brightergy, the UMass
Amherst project is the largest one is has completed. Part
of the reason that it won the
competitive RFP, according
to Byron Woodman, Account
Manager with Brightergy, was
the educational component
that the company could bring
to the project.
“We have a really strong
platform for younger students that matches core curriculum,” he said, explaining
that a former teacher is on
staff. “We have a strong focus
on internships as part of this
[project] where the students
can actually come and work
with our team and get real
life experience,” he said.
Woodman explained that
the project in front of the athletic center will be quite visible to students.
“We’re doing an open learning space where students can
actually come down there
with their classes and professors and staff and actually see
where the energy is produced,
where it comes down, how it
connects into the grid and the
real-time production,” he said.
In addition, Brightergy is providing $41,000 in educational
funds for UMass Amherst students and internship opportunities for four students over the next three years.
And that’s important to a school like UMass Amherst that
offers 300 courses on sustainability, 25 undergraduate majors
and 15 graduate programs.
Woodman said, “[The project] heightens everybody’s awareness of the potential for solar and then it makes it an exciting
space whether you are an engineer, a designer, or a communications major.”
There were no up-front costs to the university for the solar
arrays. Brightergy negotiated a PPA with ConEdison, which will
sell the electricity generated by the solar arrays to the university at a rate well below market. As the project owner ConEdison
is able to take advantage of ferederal and state tax credits. The
The solar array on the roof of the UMass Amherst Computer Science
building. Credit: Jennifer Runyon.