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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Solar panels installed, not turned on

Published: February 12, 2010
Section: News

Solar-Powered: Gosman Sports and Convocation Center now features solar panels on the roof.
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

Though the installation of solar panels on the roof of the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center was completed in January, the panels have yet to be used pending a safety inspection.

The amount of energy lost in the meantime would be enough to power a typical household for three years.

The panels cannot be turned on until the inspection has been completed by NSTAR energy.

The panels will “hopefully” be “up and running” after NSTAR’s scheduled Feb. 24 visit to campus, Brandeis Sustainability Coordinator Janna Cohen-Rosenthal wrote in an e-mail to The Hoot.

Cohen-Rosenthal said the inspection has been delayed because of other construction projects in need of inspection.

“I think its taking the normal amount of time for this process,” Cohen-Rosenthal wrote. “We’re just anxious for it to happen and once it’s turned on we’ll have the Web site that will calculate how much electricity the panels are making.”

If the inspection goes well, the panels can be turned on the next day. NSTAR declined to comment on the issue.

The panels are expected to collect 300,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year and save the university approximately one million dollars over their lifetime.

The solar panel installation was part of a power purchase agreement between EOS ventures and the university. The university will buy the energy produced by the panels from EOS instead of from a regular electrical utility.