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Our search for renewable energy sources led it to install a 10-acre solar field that avoids many of the environmental challenges associated with most systems.
An Innovative Approach to Solar Field Installation
We had two goals in mind when we built our solar fields—create a predictable source of renewable energy that would reduce its operating costs and minimize the impact on the environment. Both goals were realized with the completion of its 10-acre, $6 million solar installation. Using a special mounting system, we were able to avoid stripping the land, altering the topography or affecting its storm water plan.
Annually, the solar fields produce 2 million kilowatt hours—about 30% of our yearly energy consumption—with the goal of reaching 3 million kilowatt hours by 2018. Individuals interested in viewing the daily output of Longwood’s solar fields can visit its online dashboard.
Increasing Biodiversity in Solar Fields
A common problem with many solar field installations is that they require the land to be both flat and free of plant life. These requirements negatively impact the ecosystem in several ways. Our researchers are responding to this challenge by developing a meadow seed mix that can be planted in these fields to minimize storm water runoff, maximize biodiversity, and create aesthetic appeal.