Members of UNE's Community pose in front of a mural inside the Alfond Forum

'Here Comes the Sun': UNE Celebrates Installation of New Biddeford Solar Array

The solar array atop the Harold Alfond Forum is UNE's fourth and the third installed on the Biddeford Campus

The University of New England today unveiled a 321.6-kilowatt solar array atop its Harold Alfond Forum sports complex, representing its largest and most visible investment in renewable energy to date. 

The 804-panel array is projected to generate 353,531 kilowatt-hours annually — enough to power 32 area homes. This initiative marks a substantial reduction in carbon emissions, with the project slated to offset the equivalent of over 173 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Aerial image of solar panels atop the Harold Alfond Forum

The 321.6-kilowatt solar array atop the Harold Alfond Forum is UNE’s largest and most visible investment in renewable energy to date. 

“This massive array turns (our renewable energy) vision into reality, and the energy it generates represents a significant stride in our march toward sustainability,” UNE President James D. Herbert said at a ceremony commemorating the array. “Hopefully, our efforts encourage others to make similar investments in their own lives to minimize their environmental impact.”

The solar development — designed and installed by Revision Energy and Favreau Electric — is anticipated to produce the equivalent of nearly 3% of the Biddeford Campus’ annual electricity consumption. 

UNE currently owns and operates three additional photovoltaic arrays at its Maine campuses. In Portland, this includes a 12-panel system on Bishop Street; in Biddeford, 16 panels generate renewable energy atop the Danielle N. Ripich Commons, and 54 panels adorn the Arthur P. Girard Marine Science Center. 

These projects build upon UNE’s national reputation as a leader in sustainability. The University has been named one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges for seven consecutive years by The Princeton Review and this year was labeled one of the country’s top 50 eco-friendly colleges.

Two people tear down a black curtain to unveil a mural
A group of UNE administrators poses in front of a mural
UNE's Alethea Cariddi speaks into a microphone
Professor Will Kochtitzky speaks into a microphone
An audience watches speeches

Scenes from the April 25 commemoration. Clockwise: UNE President James Herbert and Associate Director of Sustainability Alethea Cariddi, M.Ed., unveil a solar energy monitor; UNE leadership poses in front of the mural; Cariddi speaks to the crowd; Assistant Professor Will Kochtitzky, Ph.D., opens the ceremony; and the crowd listens to remarks.

The ranking reflects UNE’s steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship, which includes a rich history of efforts like the adoption of the University’s first Climate Action Plan in 2010 and revision in 2017, the establishment of an interdisciplinary minor in Climate Change Studies in 2015, the transition to a carbon-reduced portfolio for the University's endowment in 2021, and the 2022 purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates to ameliorate the University’s carbon emissions in the equivalent of about 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

“Recognition like this is important because it signals to prospective students and their families, to the wider community here in Maine, and to our peer institutions, how deeply we value the health of our planet,” Herbert said.

Learn more about the project

Take a tour of UNE’s new, 804-panel solar array Biddeford.