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Renewable Energy

In alignment with Colby-Sawyer’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050, the college has encouraged conservation practices, implemented more efficient equipment, installed on-site solar arrays, and invested in renewables.

Since 2010, the college has run on green energy through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for 100% of its electricity consumption, drastically reducing its overall carbon emissions and earning its annual recognition in the EPA’s Green Power Partnership. Ongoing outreach and awareness campaigns encourage students, faculty, and staff to use resources wisely, which reduces pollution and saves money.

In 2012 the college was awarded a $150,000 grant from New Hampshire Pay for Performance to help conduct a campus-wide energy efficiency project, which included upgrades to lighting, building envelopes, water, controls, and HVAC systems and resulted in a reduction in fossil fuel usage and overall energy costs.

That same year, the school worked with ReVision Energy, a company based in Brentwood, N.H. to install four grid-tied solar systems—127 kilowatts total. At the time of those roof-top installations at Windy Hill School, the Curtis L. Ivey Science Center, Lawson Hall, and Lethbridge Lodge, the combined 517 panels became New Hampshire’s largest solar array. Colby-Sawyer saved $3,000 on electricity within the first year; in 2015, carbon emissions were reduced by 50 percent.

Colby-Sawyer worked with ReVision again in July of 2017 to install another 68 kilowatts atop the newly-constructed Center for Art + Design, which opened to students that fall. When the sun is shining, all 745 solar panels produce electricity that ends up used or fed back to the grid where it benefits the community and earns the college credit. These systems generate around 232,020 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity each year. This offsets the equivalent of a gas-powered car driving over 401,100 miles.

See the real-time system performance of Colby-Sawyer's solar arrays, both today and across their lifetimes.

The college paid no upfront fee or capital costs thanks to Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), which financed both projects. An investor (ReVision in 2012 and IGS in 2017) paid for the installation of the panels while the college pays for the power generated each month, rather than paying for power from the grid. After a period of time, Colby-Sawyer can opt to buy the systems at a reduced price and own all the solar power generated outright.