Construction has begun on a 446 kW ground-mounted solar array at The Putney School, a progressive, private secondary school located in southeastern Vermont. The project is being designed and constructed by Namasté Solar, an employee-owned cooperative and leading engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) provider of solar electric systems throughout the United States.
The solar project is part of a multi-year sustainability initiative at The Putney School to ultimately achieve zero net energy consumption. To achieve that goal, the school needs to implement efficiency measures that reduce energy requirements so that the institution can produce all of its energy needs on-site through renewable energy. The school is planning additional efficiency projects including insulating older buildings and constructing two new renewable-ready dormitories.
The new three-acre solar array, when combined with the school’s existing 38.6 kW solar array, will have the capacity to supply more than 70% percent of The Putney School’s annual electricity needs. The solar array will not only help the school reach its sustainability goals and cut energy costs, it will provide more opportunities for students to learn from solar energy generation on campus.
Sustainability is at the heart of The Putney School campus, curriculum, and community. Based on a dairy farm, Putney students produce food from campus gardens and provide labor in the barns. They practice land stewardship on the 500-acre campus and take classes focused on sustainability, climate change and alternative energy technologies. Students have also collaborated on the design of every new green energy building on campus.
“The Putney School has been committed to educating generations of informed and engaged environmental stewards since 1935. We’re honored and excited to partner with the school to help them achieve their long-term goal of net-zero energy,” said Heath Mackay, Project Development Manager for Namasté Solar. “The solar array provides a hands-on educational opportunity for students to learn about the benefits of solar energy while also providing significant financial savings to the school over the life of the project.”
The school was recognized in 2013, when they partnered with Vermont-based Maclay Architects to design and build the Field House, a campus athletic facility which was the first net zero LEED Platinum Certified educational building in the United States.
The Putney School is retaining ownership of the environmental attributes, known as Renewable Energy Credits, associated with the generation of the clean, renewable electricity from the new system. The project is being constructed in collaboration with Colchester, Vermont based E&S Electric.
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Image courtesy of The Putney School.