NECC will be Greener, Thanks to New Partnership
A new partnership between Northern Essex Community College and Leewood Realty of Haverhill will lead to energy cost savings and an overall reduction in carbon dioxide emissions for the college, according to Leewood owner Peter Schwarz.
Thanks to a recent net metering power purchase agreement Northern Essex will soon acquire 100% of the solar energy currently generated by Leewood’s newest 1,050+ panel grid, which is part of the largest solar panel roof grid in the city of Haverhill. The purchase is expected to save the college at least $250,000 in energy costs and 8 million pounds in CO2 output over the next 20 years.
Community representatives officially announced the partnership last week during a public ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Leewood Realty building on Newark Street, Haverhill.
“This partnership is important not only for our college and students, but for the lessons it will enable,” said NECC President Lane Glenn, alluding to the ways in which NECC’s new push for sustainable practices could extend to its classrooms. “Leewood will serve as both teaching facility and production facility.”
As part of the agreement, students from Professor Paul Chanley’s engineering classes will have the opportunity to tour the Leewood building roof-top solar panels in order to enhance their understanding of alternative energy sources and their associated benefits. Schwarz hopes to work with NECC students come fall to help his company apply for an EPA Energy Star Certification. He emphasized that the facility would serve increasingly as a “living solar lab” for students and community members. “I really want to share my excitement with a younger generation of students who are considering careers in the solar energy industry,” he said.
Leewood Realty will additionally fund $2,000 in annual scholarships beginning this fall (totaling $40,000 over twenty years) and will purchase an interactive campus monitor to provide updates on the amount of energy generated and carbon reduced through use of Leewood’s solar panels.
Representatives of the partnership and Greater Haverhill community are confident that the new agreement is a positive step toward a carbon-neutral future. “People will marvel at what places like Leewood Realty are able to accomplish,” said Glenn.
The ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration was organized by the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce.