Grant pays for solar installations at Salem State

Salem State University is installing three rooftop solar arrays with the help of new state funding.

The university was selected to receive $193,500 from the Department of Energy Resources, the first award under a new $5 million grant program launched by the agency earlier this year to encourage solar development at state entities.

Salem State’s solar systems, totaling 387 kilowatts, are being placed on the roofs of Berry Library, Marsh Hall, and Gassett Fitness Center. Officials estimate the solar energy generated from the project, expected to be completed by the end of June, will save the university $543,000 in total electricity costs over the 20-year period in which it has agreed to purchase power from the vendor who installs and operates the arrays.


The new solar installations will add to an existing Salem State sustainability initiative, which includes 216 kilowatts of existing solar arrays, four electric vehicle charging stations, six buildings certified as meeting green environmental standards, an EPA award-winning compost program, and a record of having reduced its water use by 22 percent from 2014 to 2017.

“Salem State has proudly signed on to Second Nature’s Presidents’ Climate Commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050, and these solar installations are critical as we work toward that goal,” Salem State University President John Keenan said in a statement. “Advancing our sustainability goals is not only the right thing to do for our planet, but it also supports our efforts to contain costs for our students.”

John Laidler can be reached at