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Phillips Exeter gets largest school solar array in state

Union Leader Correspondent

January 23. 2018 10:11PM
A new solar array has been installed on the field house at Phillips Exeter Academy. (Courtesy)

EXETER — Phillips Exeter Academy is expected to save millions in energy costs thanks to a new solar array that is the largest of any installed at a school in New Hampshire.

The ballasted array atop the school’s new 84,574-square-foot field house features 1,552 solar panels.

“We are all excited for the opening of the new field house this week. It’s been several years since we’ve had a space to hold practices and host meets, so we are eager to open the doors on Saturday,” said Mark Leighton, the school’s director of Facilities Management. “Throughout the process of design and construction of this facility, we paid careful attention to the impact on the environment. We’re able to reduce our environmental footprint by building it to (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, and using solar power for the majority of the energy used by this facility.”

The array — the largest in Unitil’s utility service territory — was installed by ReVision Energy, which also recently completed a large solar array next to the Brentwood fire station that will provide enough power to meet the demands of the town’s municipal buildings and is estimated to save the town nearly a $1 million over a 40-year life span.

"This large-scale array is a tangible example of the academy's commitment to sustainability, and it accelerates our state's clean energy transition. The array enables the athletic facility to control its energy costs and increase its energy independence by reducing the need to buy power generated with fossil fuels,” said Christina Zlotnick, ReVision Energy events marketing specialist.

The company estimates the new array will save the school more than $2 million in energy costs over the life of the system. It’s expected to offset the majority of the field house’s electric load.

The 535.44-kilowatt array will generate approximately 598,000 kilowatt hours of solar power a year, according to ReVision officials.

ReVision worked with Harvey Construction Corp. on the field house project.

“The new field house at Phillips Exeter Academy is a textbook case for using technology and materials in creative and efficient ways to preserve the history of the campus while updating facilities central to the student experience and energy efficiency,” said Bill Stevens, president of Harvey Construction.

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