Freeman Athletic Center Celebrates New Solar Panels at Dedication Ceremony

City of Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew and Wesleyan President Michael Roth cut the ribbon during a solar panel dedication ceremony Feb. 3 in the Freeman Athletic Center lobby. On Dec. 29, the Department of Athletics acquired a new photovoltaic system with two arrays: one on the roof of the athletic center and the other in a neighboring parking lot.

President Roth speaks about the new panels, which will generate approximately 7 percent of Freeman's annual needs for electricity, and 25 percent of what Freeman consumes during daylight hours. All the electricity generated will be consumed within the building.

Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, director of the College of the Environment, speaks to fellow ceremony attendees about the new Deck Monitoring software, which monitor's the system's power output and provides information on the project. The roof mounted array consists of 330 panels, which are capable of making 90 kW. The parking lot array has 396 panels capable of making 110 kW. In sum, the arrays are expected to make approximately 200,000 kWh of electricity annually, or about 7 million kWh over their 35 year life span.

Wesleyan partnered with Safari Energy, LLC, a solar energy organization run by Matthew Rudey '99, left, and John Nordeman '99. Safari also helped Wesleyan install solar panels on the Office of Admission and a student residence.

Chernoff, in center, applauds the solar efforts with, at right, John Meerts, vice president for finance and administration, and Peter Staye, director of utilities management. According to Staye, the system cost $1.1 million and is expected to reduce electrical expenses for the facility by $29,000 annually.

Freeman Athletic Center visitors can park under the solar panels.