The University of Massachusetts today announced a new partnership with the Net Excess Generation Credit program offered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that could amount to nearly $50 million in energy savings for the system. Under the agreement, four UMass campuses will serve as host communities to new Solar Photovoltaic (Solar PV) electric generating projects. In return, the campuses will receive an energy credit on their monthly utility bill.
"We have made it abundantly clear that we are deeply committed to operating more efficiently at UMass, and this partnership gives us a wonderful opportunity to cut costs through the use of renewable energy which is also good for the environment,’’ said President Robert L. Caret. "I want to thank the members of the Board of Trustees and the University Strategic Energy Committee for their continued commitment to providing new and innovative ways to reduce cost through energy efficiency. The Committee’s effort is precisely the kind of result we had hoped for, and I’m sure it will be the first of many successes.’’
The UMass Net Excess Generation Credit program is one of several cost-cutting initiatives – and by far the largest - put forward or being considered by the Strategic Energy Committee, which includes representatives from each of the five campuses and the UMass President’s Office who were charged with developing initiatives to lower operating costs through more efficient energy use. The Committee’s work is being assisted by Competitive Energy Services (CES), an independent energy services company headquartered in Portland, ME, with an office located in Boston.
In addition to establishing the net metering program, CES is helping the Committee develop standard metrics for measuring building efficiencies on UMass campuses and implement a utility tracking system that will allow the University to monitor energy and water use on the campuses and system-wide. The company has also been working with the Committee to establish a system-wide bidding process for its electricity and gas supply. A recently completed electricity bid process for the Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, and Worcester campuses is projected to save the University system $1.1 million in electricity costs over the next three years. The bid for natural gas services has been issued and the responses are currently under evaluation, with contracts expected to be entered into in early October.
“The Board of Trustees is very pleased with the results the University Strategic Energy Committee has attained to date,” said Maria D. Furman, a trustee and chair of the Efficiency & Effectiveness Task Force. “By establishing the overarching Efficiency & Effectiveness Task Force, the Board hoped to encourage and support management’s new ideas for reducing costs throughout the entire University system. I am also personally excited about the educational opportunities that the large Solar PV initiative offers students at the University, including paid internships, classroom instruction and research activities.”
Already the UMass system has installed more than the total amount of Solar PV systems installed in 35 of the 50 U.S. states. Furthermore, a portion of the cost savings will be used to finance additional energy efficiency measures that will enable UMass to further reduce energy use, lower greenhouse gas emissions and help control energy costs.
Over the next 20 to 30 years, the net metering program will provide an estimated $47.7 million in savings for the University of Massachusetts.
"This University system has long been committed to pioneering new ways to reduce operational costs and to protecting the environment,” said President Caret. “The solutions that we have created so far are game changers for the long-term sustainability of our five-campus system. These cost savings allow us to reinvest in the core programs that make UMass one of the best public research universities in the world.”