Unity College Shows Off Their New Solar Array this Weekend

Posted Oct. 09, 2012, at 12:14 p.m.

This coming Saturday Unity College will be giving tours of their new grid-tied solar electric array on their library roof as part of the Green Building Open House tour happening all over the Northeast on October 13.

This September ReVision Energy installed 144 solar electric panels on the roof of Unity College’s Quimby Library and the Thomashow Learning Laboratory. The 37 kW array is expected to produce about 45,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually – more than 80% of the library’s previous average annual demand. The project is being financed through a Power Purchase Agreement– an innovative financing approach that allows ReVision Energy – more accurately, a third-party LLC specifically formed to develop this project – to own and operate the system on the campus for six years while Unity College purchases from them any electricity produced by the system.

Unity College will also be showcasing two other green buildings this Saturday, the TerraHaus dorm and the President’s residence.

The TerraHaus is the first Passive House-certified student residence in the country and features an evacuated tube solar hot water system. Space heating needs are met primarily through passive approaches including solar orientation, super-insulation, and superior air sealing — with backup heat from a cold-climate heat pump and small electric baseboard radiators. Evacuated tube solar hot water collectors provide more than 60% of the building’s annual domestic hot water needs.

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The Unity House is a 1,937-square on-campus home of Unity College’s president and family. This net-zero carbon residence also hosts campus events and classes. It is a symbol of the college’s sustainability outreach efforts, and features a 5.4 kW photovoltaic array, a solar hot water system, and a cold climate heat pump. The Unity House produces enough electricity to meet its annual needs. The LEED Platinum home for the college president uses passive solar design, high-efficiency thermal insulation, and was built with recycled, non-toxic, locally sourced materials.

The Quimby Library, Unity College.

Unity College has pledged that their campus will become climate-neutral as soon as possible.

Another green home in Unity is participating on the tour. The Mayberrys live right next door to the college and will be giving tours of their solar powered home. Last winter ReVision Energy installed a solar hot water system and a grid-tied solar electric system that are estimated to help the Mayberry family offset over 10,500 lbs. of CO2 annually and save them over $1,500 annually at today’s oil and electric prices.

The Green Building Open House tour is this Saturday, October 13 from 10 am to 3 pm. You can find other homes in your area on the tour at The tour is sponsored by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA).

Directions to Unity College: From Downtown Unity go southwest on Main Street (Route 202 & 9) to 90 Quaker Hill Rd. The College is on the left. For the TerraHaus park near the house or at the Welcome Center. For the Unity House enter between the white residence halls and proceed to back of the parking lot.

Directions to the Mayberry home: From Downtown Unity go southwest on Main Street (Route 202 & 9) to Quaker Hill Rd. The Mayberry’s driveway is on the left just after the Unity College Campus. 111 Quaker Hill Rd.

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