Stonehill College is building one of the nation’s largest college campus solar fields as part of the College’sstrategic commitment to building a culture of sustainability on campus and ties in with the College’s Catholic ethos.
“The solar field is an extension to our Catholic commitment to care for creation and sustainability. It gives further indication of our commitment, on every level, to preserving the resources that are in our care for future generations,” says Rev. James Lies, C.S.C., the College’s vice president for mission.
“As Catholics, we are called upon by God to be good stewards of the earth and the natural world. We have a responsibility to use our gifts and expertise to advocate for environmental justice and to create sustainable development options,” explains Fr. Lies.
The 15-acre solar field is being built on an unused parcel of land across from Stonehill College’s main campus on Route 138 in Easton. Scheduled to be completed early in 2014, it will be 2.7 megawatts in size and contain 9,000 solar panels which will make it the 11th(tied) largest solar installation on a college campus nationwide and the largest on a New England college campus according to the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) database.
The solar field is expected to save the College over $185,000 a year or an estimated $3.2 million over the course of a 15-year contract it has signed with New Jersey-based Marina Energy. The energy produced is expected to account for 20% of Stonehill’s electrical usage.
In 2012, Stonehill became the 12th Catholic college in the United States to sign the St. Francis Pledge, which is a public promise to protect God’s creation and the environment, and to advocate for those who are impacted the most by global climate change. The pledge is named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi who is the patron saint of the environment and of animals.
Read more about Stonehill’s solar field on their website.