Solar panels donated to Easthampton Wildlife Sanctuary

The solar panels will be installed over the next few days and cost around $50,000

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Mass Audubon Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary received a gift that will save the organization thousands of dollars.

A Northampton couple and Northeast Solar donated solar panels to the wildlife sanctuary.

A gift of solar panels will help keep the lights on, and eliminate electric bills at the Mass Audubon Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton.

Sanctuary volunteer Brian Adams, his partner Morey Phibben, and Northeast Solar in Hatfield donated the panels.

“This new array is going to get us at over a 100 percent, so that we will no longer rely on other sources,” said Jonah Keane of the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary.

The panels are a solar tracker, which means they move and follow the sun, and adjust for height, depending on the season.

“Because of that it will actually produce 45 percent more energy than a stationary panel,” Keane told 22News. “So it will get us to over 100 percent of our needs here, as we plan to switch over other things to electric, we can switch over to them being covered by these panels.”

Arcadia plans to switch their oil and propane heating system to solar powered heat pumps. The solar panels will be installed over the next few days and cost around $50,000.

The solar array will produce more electricity than the sanctuary actually uses. The organization’s current panels only cover about 60 percent of their electricity usage.

Leaving Arcadia paying about $2,000 every year. But those bills will go away.

“Everything that we install has a warranty of about 25 years, but the lifespan is actually going to be about 40 years,” said Rusty Ingold-Smith of Northeast Solar in Hatfield.

Arcadia’s 723 acres are home to a wide range of animals. Arcadia’s plans to run their entire facility off the electricity produced by the panels.