Eastern Mennonite University to add solar roof to its library

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Eastern Mennonite University is adding a solar roof to its library in what will become the largest solar project in Virginia.

The project will include the installation of more than 300 photovoltaic panels on the roof of the university’s library in Harrisonburg. Southern Energy Management of Morrisville, N.C., will complete the installation.

The roof will generate 104.3 kilowatts of electricity — or enough to provide electricity for nine homes for a year. Currently, the largest solar roof in Virginia is at the Merrifield Post Office, which produces 84 kilowatts.

The roof is a partnership of Staunton-based Secure Futures LLC, a solar energy developer. EMU has entered a 20-year agreement to purchase solar-generated electricity from Secure Futures. It will cost no more than it does for the university to purchase electric from the Harrisonburg Electric Commission.

Under the agreement, EMU has paid for 10 years of electricity to help Secure Futures reduce financing for the project.

“This solar project represents good stewardship of the university’s financial resources and the Earth’s natural resources,” EMU President Loren Swartzendruber said in a statement. “It will also offer a highly visible case study for our students and our community about the pragmatic benefits of clean renewable energy.”

The university plans to add even more solar power to its campus. Secure Futures will seek investors to install a 300-megawatt solar roof on the university’s commons

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