Universities Using Solar?! WHAT?!

By Christine Carroll

As a college student, I am interested in universities who are taking the opportunity to use solar energy.

There are some universities in my home state of Minnesota who are currently using solar such as the College of St. Benedict’s and Saint John’s University, which has adopted a commitment to achieving carbon neutrality, and is hoping that this large scale project will pave the way to clean energy; and the University of Minnesota Morris Campus, which has a really neat Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE).

Solar_farm

Solar Farm at Saint John’s in Collegeville, Minnesota

Other mainstream universities such as Harvard, Duke and Oberlin have made the commitment to using solar energy as well as implementing strategies for a greener campus.

As a student at Bethel University, the work at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio  has become a particular interest to me. It is a top recognized Christian university, according to the U.S.News & World Report. They have made a commitment to solar energy and expect their power to be in action by April.

This solar project is a big deal because it will be located on a newly acquired piece of land. According to Mark D. Weinstein, their Executive Director of Public Relations, “a new underground utility corridor for the solar array will allow the zero emission source to feed electricity to the University’s distribution system, making it the largest solar system directly connected to a university in Ohio.” The solar system will be enough to provide energy for 250 homes and remove 2,478 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year.

Cedarville University commits to using their stand for sustainable living and knowledge of solar technology to “advance mission-minded projects in Liberia and throughout the world.” This is important to me, as I have visited Liberia and thought about how solar technology can lead to a hopeful future in Liberia.

Cedarville has won six World Solar Splash boat competitions and aspires to use their solar commitment to benefit their community. The school has been a leader in teaching the importance of a sustainable lifestyle to their students so that they may engage in the world by making a difference for change.

Melink, president of the Melink Corporation says of the Cedarville solar installation, “hopefully, it will inspire other schools and universities to consider clean and affordable renewable energy solutions.” And in fact, it has done just that! I go to a Christian liberal arts university here in the Twin-Cities, and I have been discussing with our Green Council opportunities for renewables on our campus. Our budget is tight — but we have committed to a sustainable effort.

Christine Carroll is a Clean Energy Intern with the Sierra Club North Star Chapter and a student at Bethel University.

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