Early in April, #East Tennessee State University is going to unveil their newest endeavor – on top of the Charles C. #Sherrod Library will sit an array of brand new #solar panels. So far on the campus, there are two huge #solar arrays – one is on the Basler Center for Physical Activity, and according to #Kathleen Moore, Director of Sustainability, the solar panels have been there for five years. Now there is also one on the Charles Sherrod Library.
The Campus Sustainability Fee Committee and the Student Government Association of East Tennessee State University made notable efforts to ensure the new solar panels would go up. The Campus Sustainability Fee Committee asks staff, faculty, and students to plan #energy sustainability projects financed through students.
A Solar Push from Students
The solar panel project cost approximately $140,000, according to Kathleen Moore. It’s really the students who have been pushing for more solar panels, too, as there isn’t a formal policy in terms of the administration to have more panels set up. Students pay fees each semester toward the campus sustainability fee, which goes toward funding sustainability projects. This is what has funded the new solar panels on top of the library.
It is Moore’s hope that the campus will continue to stay active when it comes to energy sustainability in the near future. The campus will be able to not only install even more solar panels, but there will be the ability to determine the amount of money being saved because of using solar panels and therefore lowering energy usage overall.
Moore discussed the desire to install electrical meters to offer building-level metering throughout the campus at different buildings. There is also a desire to drop the electrical load. Clearly, the campus community is prioritizing clean energy usage, and part of this entails going solar.
Benefits to Going Solar on Campus
There are quite a few benefits to going solar. In addition to the environmental benefits, Moore discussed how money would be saved via energy efficiency on campus because more money could go toward capital projects and academic programs. Basically, using solar energy is a win-win for everyone involved. Clearly, when money isn’t being allocated toward one aspect or project on campus, it can be used elsewhere.
According to Moore, even with the solar panels on top of the library, there is still a need for the campus community to prioritize promoting sustainable energy practices. This is something everyone can participate in. Eliminating certain behaviors, such as leaving lights on all the time when they are not needed, and leaving computers and chargers plugged in all the time, will be beneficial in lowering energy usage as a whole.
Students at East Tennessee State University clearly care about going solar and they care about how energy is produced and utilized on campus. It is great to see them act as part of the solution.
Moore applauded the students for making the decision to allocate money toward these solar projects. In terms of climate change, she said they know what they are inheriting and they want to do their part.
By the end of 2019, East Tennessee State University is going to know how much money the solar panels have saved regarding Sherrod Library’s energy expense, as per Moore.
Other Solar Efforts at #ETSU
The solar panels are not the first clean energy endeavor by students on campus – an iBucs competition will take place in April – this is a student competition aimed to provide funding to the best ideas presented to a board of judges. A graduate student who took first place in the competition last year, Darack Nanto, continues working on a prototype for his Eco Smart Can. This utilizes Internet of Things technology powered by solar energy to manage and compact trash and send notifications when it is time for the trash to be emptied.
The time to go solar is now. Continue to stay on top of solar news to learn about the latest developments. It is great to see forward-thinking students making a difference and the hope is that more of this will be seen in the future!