Salem state university

Located just 15 miles north of Boston, Salem State is one of the largest and most diverse state universities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is an important partner in the economic, cultural and intellectual vitality of the greater north-of-Boston region. Situated in the historic seacoast city of Salem, Massachusetts on more than 115 acres and five campuses, Salem State provides a diverse community of over 9,000 students, a high quality, student-centered education; one that prepares them to contribute responsibly and creatively to a global society and to serve as a resource to advance the region’s cultural, social and economic development.

Challenge

For years, Salem State University has instilled a culture of sustainability across its programs, considering it to be a critical part of its “commitment to academic excellence, civic engagement, and operational efficiency.” Since 2007, when the university pledged to carbon neutrality by 2050, Salem State has made inspiring strides towards its sustainability goals, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 38%, instituting more than 30 sustainability courses across curricula, divesting from fossil fuels, and so much more. As it continues its impressive journey to its 2050 goal, the university sought to add incorporate more renewable energy sources on campus.

Solution

As a longtime member of PowerOptions, the largest energy-buying consortium in New England, Salem State was able to take advantage of the organization’s partnership with Solect Energy and install three rooftop solar arrays. The arrays are located on the Frederick E. Berry Library (175 kW), Marsh Residence Hall (139 kW), and Gassett Fitness Center (100 kW) and total approximately 415 kW.

Results

The solar arrays are expected to save Salem State approximately $1 million and avoid 7,000 tons of greenhouse gases over the life of the systems. Not only will this help Salem State on its journey to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, but the financial savings will benefit students by making tuition more affordable and increasing university resources.