Suffield Academy has installed a 600-kilowatt solar power array that is projected to produce 790KW of energy per year. It is located on the western portion of campus (across Muddy Brook) with trenching that connects it to the Ap Seaverns Athletic Center. Solar energy will cover around a quarter of Suffield’s annual use and the system can be expanded over time. It will go live in November.
The school has a power purchase agreement with the system owners where Suffield buys electricity for 5 cents per kilowatt. This is locked in for 15 years with the option to extend twice for five additional years. This rate is more than half of the power rate Suffield Academy currently pays. The system maintenance costs are built into the rate and there are performance guarantees in the agreement related to the minimum of kilowatts delivered from the system. If these are not met the school would receive payment. The school can buy out of the contract at various points.
The project was made possible by an upfront payment funded by a lead gift from the Willow Springs Foundation as well as proceeds from the 2019 Parents’ Association Auction Fund-A-Need. An additional major gift has helped with a variety of energy reduction projects including a recent energy audit performed by The Stone House Group. Impressively, while Suffield’s campus size has increased by 71% over the past decade greenhouse gas emissions from energy have declined. Metric tons of carbon emissions went from more than eight per square foot to under six. The school is working closely with Stone House and others to continue building on environmental stewardship. An extensive composting program where the school partners with Blue Earth Compost was implemented in 2019.