At 9:35AM on March 1, 2021, Dan Ridgway, Director of Operations for the College of Podiatric Medicine (CPM), flipped a switch that would energize a new future of sustainable power on campus. The switch officially activated a brand new 315.2 kilowatt-DC solar PV array consisting of 788 solar panels and extending electrical connection to campus. In layman’s terms: that’s clean energy to serve nearly 30% of campus electricity!
The project began in Fall, 2020 through an energy conservation project with The Brewer-Garrett Company. The 25-year Power Purchase Agreement requires no upfront capital expense to the college, and all electricity produced will be purchased at a negotiated rate with Paradise Energy Solutions, LLC, of Sugarcreek, Ohio.
“We need to be in front of this movement as a University, I think it’s our responsibility,” CPM Dean Dr. Allan Boike affirms, “And this project gives us the opportunity to reduce our energy costs by half a million dollars over a period of time, which is just amazing.”
The field will produce a minimum 25-year electric cost savings of about $16,500 the first year, and over $550,000 after 25 years. In the summer months, when electricity use is at a high producing air conditioning for the facility, the solar array will serve to reduce stress on the electric grid.
Now that the solar array is hard at work producing clean energy for campus, native pollinators will be seeded around the perimeter of the array this spring. The new perimeter will consist of wildflowers and other plants specifically selected for the area to increase numbers of honeybees and various other beneficial insects.
To follow-up on its progress, a solar energy dashboard is expected to be available on the CPM homepage allowing real-time data use for educational purposes and community interest. Though the journey has just begun, CPM considers this project a huge win for both CPM and the environment. As Bob Misbrener, the Kent State University Project Manager II for CPM’s solar array install, said it best… “we’re putting another foot forward for sustainable energy!”