Housatonic gets solar panels
BRIDGEPORT — Solar canopies are being installed above the Housatonic Community College parking garage that promise to eventually save the cash-strapped college a bundle in energy costs.
The project is said to be a collaboration between the Connecticut State College and University system, and GE Solar, and was funded entirely with private capital.
Similar panels already have been installed at Manchester, Gateway and other campuses. Others in line include Southern and Western Connecticut State universities and Norwalk Community College.
When done, the project is expected to cover 8.5 percent of the system’s annual electricity usage and save an estimated $15 million over 20 years. One year of electricity for all participating CSCU campuses is the equivalent of powering 1,202 homes for the same amount of time.
Steel beams started arriving at Housatonic earlier this month and are going up on the uncovered roof of the parking garage.
“It will act almost as a cover,” said Rose Ellis, vice president of development at Housatonic. “The panels come up and cars can park underneath.”
At Housatonic, the system should be active within the next few months, providing approximately 1 megawatt of power, saving the campus more than $2 million over the next two decades. The work is expected to be done by April.
“We continue reviewing solar panel opportunities for Norwalk” Community College, said Leigh Appleby, a spokesman for the CSCU system.