University Business May 2017 - 26

Here
comes
the SUN
As part of comprehensive
sustainability strategies,
campus solar installations
are on the rise
By Jodi Helmer

S

ometimes it becomes clear very
early on that a facilities project-
especially a solar initiative-will
be complicated.
At Endicott College in Massachusetts,
administrators looking into solar and other
renewable energy technologies discovered
several of the rooftops were too small to
accommodate solar installation. Planned
renovations on other buildings meant solar
panels would need to be removed and reinstalled, risking damage to the panels
and interrupting solar power availability.
And in terms of ground-mounted installations, shade from trees and other buildings

26 | May 2017

limited the options. "You need to be
committed to finding an appropriate solution," says Director of Sustainability Sarah
Hammond Creighton.
The effort paid off: In 2014, Endicott
installed a solar canopy over a 255-space
parking lot. In 2016, the new hockey arena
was designed to include solar panels on the
roof. Combined, the installations generate
up to 12 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of
power per year-about 10 percent of total
campus energy use-at a price lower than
the school pays for natural gas.
"It's been saving us money since day
one," says Creighton, adding that the

college obtained the panels for no money
down through a leasing program.
The number of higher ed institutions
converting a portion or even all of their energy use to solar is on the rise.
"Widespread and growing quickly" is
how Julian Dautremont-Smith, director
of programs for the Association for the
Advancement of Sustainability in Higher
Education (AASHE), describes the trend.
The organization is aware of 330 institutions that have deployed more than 600
installations nationwide, with the total
solar capacity in higher education at
approximately 247,776 kilowatts.

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