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Case Study

JLL AES provides project management oversight for Harvard University solar array project

In 2008, Harvard University President Drew Faust pledged to reduce the university's greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the year 2016. As part of the University-wide effort, Harvard Real Estate Services (HRES) planned to invest in a rooftop solar array for Building 311 at the Arsenal on the Charles, a university owned office building in Watertown, Massachusetts.

HRES hired JLL to oversee the due diligence, planning, design, construction and implementation of the solar array with the goal of maximizing the potential energy output of the building's massive 3.5 acre roof. By late 2008, Jones Lang LaSalle had contracts in place to begin the installation of a fully designed, 500 kW array as well as a $1.1 million grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC).

Just prior to the project implementation, the sudden global economic downturn and its impact on the university's endowment prompted a freeze on all new capital projects. Rather than abandon the project, HRES asked JLL to investigate alternate delivery methodologies that would shift the array's financing, development and operating risks away from
the university.

JLL strategized with HRES and concluded that a private developer would be used under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) model to complete the stalled project. This approach also allowed the project to benefit from federal and state tax incentives not accessible to Harvard as a non-profit.

To facilitate the process of selecting a solar developer, Jones Lang LaSalle drafted an RFP with the help of outside counsel, consultants, HRES and Harvard's Office of General Counsel. After the responses were received, JLL developed a unique financial model used to analyze the bids and assisted Harvard in the selection and negotiation of the
development partner.

JLL achieved all critical milestones during the process, which was expedited due to funding deadlines on the State and Federal incentives. The contract was successfully executed and the solar array began operating in December 2009. The project guarantees a predictable, long-term source of green energy and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) for Harvard at an attractive price.

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