science tutorial class

News & Events

Massachusetts Officials and Eversource Meet on Hampshire's Groundbreaking Solar Plan

Hampshire College's plan to be the first US residential college 100% powered by on-site solar energy systems continues to advance

The offices of U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern and Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg have been meeting regularly with executives of utility company Eversource and energy services company SolarCity to advance Hampshire College's plan to be the first US residential college 100% powered by on-site solar energy systems. In the spring, Hampshire plans to build on its Amherst campus what it believes is the largest private solar power system of any college in the Northeast and the fifth largest of any college in the Eastern United States (see table below).

The power generated by the new systems on two open-land areas of the 840-acre campus will total 4.0 megawatts, delivering up to 6.4 million kWh per year. The proposed solar power systems will generate enough electricity to power its campus, equivalent to 590 average homes. The emissions avoided will be 2,000 tons of CO2 a year, equal to taking 390 cars off the road. Comprised of 15,000 solar panels on 19 acres, Hampshire's proposed large-scale ground-mount systems promise to be a model for large-scale renewable energy installations in the snow-prone Northeast.

Hampshire will purchase the solar power from SolarCity at a rate lower than current utility costs through a power purchase agreement, a fixed rate for the next 20 years. Hampshire savings may exceed $340,000 in the first year alone and more than $10 million over the next two decades, which Hampshire expects to utilize for campus energy efficiency projects and academic research. The project is expected to include two 500 kilowatt-hour batteries that can be dispatched during highest demand to help reduce costs.

Hampshire’s two solar energy systems will be financed, built and operated by SolarCity following an impact study currently underway through Eversource. A normal step in the process of going solar, the study will look at how the arrays will function in the community electrical distribution systems, and determine whether any system modifications are needed for safe and reliable operation. The College and partner SolarCity would pay the costs if any modifications are necessary. The exact size and output of the system will be decided based on the study's findings.

These projects are part of Hampshire's overarching sustainability effort to make College operations 100% climate neutral. Hampshire is part of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, through which the college has pledged to develop a comprehensive plan to achieve carbon neutrality.



kWh (solar unless noted)



Includes those operating and planned. Sources: Assoc for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Ed, US EPA, Solar Energy Industry Assoc, 

Mount St. Marys Univ MD

20 million kWh

17.4 MW AND

Rutgers NJ


17.4 MW

Mercer County Community College NJ


8 MW

Princeton Univ NJ


5 MW

Hampshire College MA

6.4 million kWh

4 MW


William Paterson NJ


3.5 MW

Houghton College NY

3.2 million kWh

2.5 MW AND

Heartland Community College IL

3.2 million kWh (wind)


Davidson College NC


3 MW

Oberlin College OH

3.1 million kWh

2.3 MW

Atlantic Cape Community College NJ


2.3 MW

Cedarville University OH


2.15 MW

Florida Gulf Coast FL

3.3 million kWh

2 MW

Skidmore College NY


2 MW

Clarkson Univ NY


2 MW

Bowdoin ME


1.2 MW

Harvard University MA


1.1 MW

Univ Buffalo NY


.8 MW

Williams College MA


.7 MW

Stay In Touch
With The Communications Office
Snail Mail
Office of Communications
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002