Washington and Lee to Install Virginia’s Largest Solar Energy System

Washington and Lee signed an agreement with Secure Futures L.L.C., a solar-energy developer based in Staunton, Va., today to install two solar photovoltaic arrays, totaling approximately 450 kilowatts, at two separate locations on the University’s campus.

The first solar array, with a capacity of 120 kilowatts, will be installed on a canopy to be constructed over the upper deck of the University’s parking structure. Lewis Hall, home of the Washington and Lee School of Law, will host the second array, a rooftop installation with a capacity of 330 kilowatts. Scheduled for completion by the end of the year, the two arrays combined will become the largest solar project in Virginia, with enough power to supply the total average annual electricity needs for the equivalent of 44 homes in Lexington.

“This is an important step for Washington and Lee as part of our continuing emphasis on sustainability,” said Kenneth P. Ruscio, W&L’s president. “This is another instance of how we are aligning our institutional practices with what we preach to our students about their duties as responsible citizens and their obligations to future generations.”

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When complete, the installations will represent the largest deployment to date of solar power in the commonwealth of Virginia. The roof of Lewis Hall will have 1,032 high-efficiency photovoltaic panels manufactured by the SunPower Corp., and the parking-deck canopy will hold 540 photovoltaic panels made by Sanyo. Washington and Lee has entered into a 20-year power-purchase agreement with Secure Futures to buy the solar-generated electricity.

The University pursued this opportunity, as the latest element in its sustainability strategy, with a clear eye on the economics of the model.

“The use of the Power Purchase Agreement makes this a financially viable project for the University, as it allows the University to purchase the electricity generated from the project at a far more effective cost than had we built and operated the structures ourselves,” Steve McAllister, Vice President for Finance at the University, stated. “In addition the structure of the agreement provides an option for the University to purchase the system at a later date. This option may prove to yield an even larger economic benefit for the University.”


1 Response to “Washington and Lee to Install Virginia’s Largest Solar Energy System”

  1. 1 Dewey Bahar February 13, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    Certainly, but we all need to appreciate that adding Solar to their property is an asset that will raise the future valuation of their home if / when they decide to sell. With the environment the way it is going we cannot underestimate any system that delivers totally free energy at no cost to both the customer and more importantly the environment!

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