A solar array is coming to the roof of the Center for Recreation and Sports

Robert Shipley, assistant vice president for facilities management, shares how solar panels on the Center for Recreation and Sports roof will generate big savings—and support Adelphi’s commitment to a sustainable, energy-efficient campus.

Adelphi News | Amy Wagner
April 16, 2024

Installation scheduled for this summer on a 315 KW photovoltaic solar energy system on the 76,000-square-foot Center for Recreation and Sports’ (CRS) roof is expected to be completed by fall, according to Robert Shipley, assistant vice president for facilities management.

After completing approval processes, Shipley expects installation of the solar panels to begin by late June or early July. “There will be a flurry of activity in the beginning, to get equipment up on the roof, hooking up the electrical side to the campus grid, and completing inspections,” he explained. “Once it is connected to the electrical grid, it should be up and running by fall.”

Neil Sharma, co-founder and chief commercial officer of SolarKal, is the project consultant and adviser. He said, “Our collaboration with the University dates back to 2022, during which time we’ve diligently sought out avenues for seamlessly integrating solar technology into the campus infrastructure, aligning with the University’s steadfast dedication to renewable energy initiatives.”

The new solar panels are the second to be installed on campus since Swirbul Library first harnessed solar power with a 50 KW rooftop power system in 2011. According to Shipley, the maximum output of the system would be consumed by the CRS and supplemented by the normal power grid. “We aren’t selling or exporting any of the power generated—we’re using it right here on campus,” stated Shipley.

Generating Fuel Efficiency

In keeping with Adelphi’s leadership in energy conservation and fuel efficiency, the CRS project came about when an emergency repair was needed on the building’s roof in late 2021 and early 2022.

“I spoke to the former CFO and gave him options to defer and offset capital costs. The building was an excellent candidate for a solar system, with its large, wide-open roof,” Shipley said.

A search for vendors landed on Greenskies Clean Energy LLC, which will install the system. “We’re not spending money to have it installed,” Shipley explained. Adelphi has a 20-year contract to purchase the power generated by the system at a discount from PSEG. “That’s how we will garner $20,000 in savings a year,” he said.

Sustaining a Green Environment

While the University’s recently completed Momentum 2 strategic plan makes support of an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient environment a crucial priority, a 2023 top ranking as an environmentally responsible green college by The Princeton Review recognizes Adelphi’s longstanding commitment and leadership in sustainability.

The campus, which maintains its natural beauty through organic gardening techniques, has been pesticide-free for 20 years. More recent initiatives have included the green-minded Ruth S. Harley University Center renovation that prevented tons of debris from ending up in landfills; numerous electric vehicle chargers on campus; sustainable dining that depends on local and regional suppliers; and convenient, campuswide water bottle refill stations.

As Shipley sees it, the CRS’s solar paneled roof is an easy way to continue Adelphi’s green leadership. “The rooftop is an unused space as is. Why not put it to work generating electricity? The system will be relatively maintenance-free once it is up and running.”