Virginia’s largest solar energy system to be installed at Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University has signed an agreement with Secure Futures L.L.C., a solar-energy developer based in Staunton, Virginia, to install two solar photovoltaic arrays, totaling approximately 450 kilowatts.

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 campus’s parking structure. Lewis Hall, home of the University’s School of Law, will host the second array, a rooftop installation with a capacity of 330 kilowatts. 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 project is scheduled to be completed 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.”

According to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, the largest solar project in the state is currently the 104-kilowatt installation on the roof of the Hartzler Library at Eastern Mennonite University, in Harrisonburg, a project Secure Futures developed in the fall of 2010.

Washington and Lee University has signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and the international Talloires Declaration. The campus’s sustainability efforts include composting, local and organic foods, energy conservation, purchasing, transportation and more.

Learn more about Washington and Lee’s sustainability efforts

Learn more about other campus solar arrays:

Butte College’s solar panel array, led their way to grid positivity

Harvard’s 500 kW Installation

The Catholic University of America’s 294 kilowatt Installation

Check out National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Sustainability Case Studies on energy

Reference: August 8, 2011 Washington and Lee University Press Release

Image credit: Washington and Lee University