Berkshire Community College (BCC) unveiled several of its 1,800 photovoltaic panels this morning at a press conference held at the College's Main Campus on West Street in Pittsfield. The project has been made possible through ARRA bill, as known as Federal Stimulus money, and the help of Congressman John Olver.
"We're excited that very soon we will be able to say that BCC is powered by the sun," said Dr. Paul Raverta, BCC President.
The installation will be the largest roof mounted solar array in a Massachusetts educational institution. The $1.8 million project will generate the equivalent of over 400,000 KWH of electricity each year. The solar installation is expected to supply approximately 25% of the institutions electricity. In addition to the energy savings the college will realize, the solar project is responsible for more than a dozen local jobs. The panels and inverters for BCC's solar array, which are being installed by contractor Ostrow Electric, were manufactured right here in Massachusetts.
"Under Governor Patrick's leadership, Massachusetts is on track to increase installed solar power by a factor of 20 compared to four years ago," Secretary Bowles said. "Berkshire Community College's project - along with many others like it at state-owned facilities across the state - is part of a solar revolution that has nearly tripled the number of jobs in the Commonwealth's solar industry and catalyzed a more than six-fold increase in the number of Bay State firms involved in solar energy, while reducing our vulnerability to the price fluctuations and pollution associated with fossil fuel-powered electricity."
Raverta remarked that the College's campus is not unlike many of the other state buildings found throughout the Commonwealth. "The late 1960's architecture and design elements are reminiscent of a time when single-pane windows and concrete were the norm," stated Raverta.
Through projects like this one, BCC continues its transformation into a living laboratory for students and the community.
As part of the campus's green initiatives, this past summer BCC also introduced a new Enterprise Energy Management System (EEMS), which will be installed by EnerNOC and allow the College to monitor real-time energy usage. EEMS will allow BCC to learn more about where additional energy savings modifications can be made and can immediately respond to inefficiencies.
"This is an exciting time at BCC," announced Raverta. "I believe that we are serving as a model for the state in creating a 21st century green college from our buildings to our campus culture. And there is more to come!"