St. Paul, Minn. — Macalester College has signed an agreement with SunEdison, Inc. (NYSE: SUNE), the world’s largest renewable energy development company, to offset 100% of the college’s electricity use with solar energy.  Macalester could save millions of dollars on electricity costs over the 25-year agreement by purchasing a share of output from SunEdison’s community solar gardens.

The SunEdison community solar gardens program enables customers to receive a share of electricity output from a locally sited community solar system. Each month, the customer receives credits on their electricity bill – up to 120% of their electricity usage. At the end of the year, the customer will receive payment from the utility for any excess credits which have not been used.

“We are happy to partner with SunEdison and participate in the community solar gardens program,” said Macalester College Vice President for Finance and Administration David Wheaton. “Macalester has a long history of commitment to environmental and energy initiatives. This agreement furthers our campus sustainability goals and is a financially responsible initiative for Macalester. Given our projected consumption patterns and the expected rising trend in electricity rates over the period of the agreement, we believe that the savings over the term of the agreement could be in the millions of dollars.  Those savings will begin as soon as the solar gardens are operational and will benefit both current and future students.”

Several Macalester students contributed to MacCARE’s efforts regarding the community solar gardens: Jack McCarthy ’18, Alexander Ramiller ’18, Shelby Witherby ’18, Andrew Gage ’15, Samantha Burlager ’15, Gabrielle Queenan ’15, Gordon Moore ’17, William Feeney ’18, Forest Redlin ’17 and Mira Ensley-Field ’17.

SunEdison plans to begin construction of the community solar gardens in 2015 and begin commercial operation in 2016.

“We’re excited to be working with Macalester College, one of the first colleges to participate in SunEdison’s community solar gardens program,” said Sam Youneszadeh, Managing Director of Distributed Generation Western USA at SunEdison. “Our solar garden program allows customers to enjoy the benefits of solar even when they are unable to install solar systems on their property. We expect to see more schools, colleges, and universities follow Macalester College’s lead and take advantage of the solar gardens program in the near future.”

SunEdison is the world’s largest renewable energy development company and is transforming the way energy is generated, distributed and owned around the globe. The company manufactures solar technology and develops, finances, installs, owns and operates wind and solar power plants, delivering predictably priced electricity to its residential, commercial, government and utility customers. To learn more visit

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,045 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at


April 16 2015

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