Back to News College of Mount Saint Vincent Ups Cool Factor, Harnesses the Sun

College of Mount Saint Vincent Ups Cool Factor, Harnesses the Sun


Solar canopies expected to significantly reduce Mount Saint Vincent electrical consumption from the Grid

Riverdale, N.Y. –The College of Mount Saint Vincent recently completed the installation of 1,400 solar panels in Villa Lot—the College’s largest parking facility—making it one of the largest known solar arrays in New York City. The project is coordinated in partnership with the nation’s top solar provider SolarCity. Through use of the solar project, the College expects to cut its overall electrical costs by over $100,000 per year.

View of the solar canopies in Villa lot.SolarCity installed the cutting-edge canopies this past summer. Additional panels will top the Peter J. Sharp Athletic and Recreation Center, and plans are underway for further installations across multiple buildings on campus. The project not only benefits the Mount, but also the Sisters of Charity, who reside on the College’s Riverdale campus.

Up to 232 cars can now park under the shade-producing photovoltaic canopies, allowing additional protection from nature’s elements. The lot will keep cars cool, generate energy, and is aesthetically appealing—glass and steel complement the panels, creating a sleek and futuristic look.

The installation’s savings translate to an all-around cool factor, too. The solar canopies are provided through a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) in which SolarCity coordinates the design, permitting, financing, installation, monitoring and maintenance with no upfront cost, and sells the solar power generated to the College at a rate lower than current local utility rates. It’s anticipated that the Villa system will produce more than 540,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually.

To celebrate the completion of the solar installation, the College has invited legislative leaders including Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and New York State Senator Jeffrey Klein to campus September 29 at 3 p.m. to view Villa Lot. The College will acknowledge the leaders’ progressive work—such green projects are made possible through the efforts they lead.

The solar canopies are yet another example of the College’s commitment to taking an environmentally conscious approach. Most of the College’s major buildings—including Founders Hall, Hayes Auditorium, Spellman Hall, and the Science Hall—have completed oil-to-gas conversions. The College is now at an over 10 percent energy cost savings per year.

On top of recently switching the College’s residence halls to LED light fixtures, the Mount also now boasts outdoor LED lighting. The life span of an LED bulb is 50,000 hours compared to 1,200 hours on an incandescent bulb. The College is also in the process of steadily revamping its Building Management System (BMS). About 50 percent of the campus now has temperature-moderating and scheduling components on its newer HVAC. By changing out thermostats on older equipment that is not currently on the BMS to digital programmable thermostats, systems can operate on set schedules based on building occupancy and reduce costs by moderating temperatures when buildings are not being used. Moreover, security supervisors are being trained to ensure windows are closed, window air conditioners are off, and lights are out during their rounds. This energy supervision also extends to campus events held after hours and on weekends.

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.