BEYOND THE RIGHT THING TO DO:
THE VALUE OF FUNDING SOLAR IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Today, a new student-led University of Idaho (U of I) Sustainability Center project is bringing the first solar array to the U of I Campus! With your help, this project will see the installation of 393 photovoltaic solar panels and yield 145kW of renewable energy!
WHY SOLAR? There are three core reasons why we believe installing solar power is the right decision for the U of I, and why our team has spent the past two years working to make this goal a reality. The first and most obvious reason is that we, as an institution, have made commitments to sustainability. This was most recently affirmed in our 2016 strategic plan, where sustainability is identified as one of our five core values. Another commitment we’ve made is the climate action plan which took a comprehensive look at our institution’s carbon footprint and committed us to trying to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Lastly, reducing our carbon footprint is one of the biggest moves we can make to become more sustainable. Because most of our emissions come from electricity consumption, we need to start exploring ways to get the energy we need while still honoring our commitment to sustainability.
SCOPE OF WORK: Upon completion of a University of Idaho solar site assessment comparing 15 rooftop and ground mount locations, the Institutional Research and Innovation Center (IRIC), the university’s first LEED GOLD building, was determined to be the most suitable location for the first photovoltaic solar array. IRIC can support 393 panels, produce 145kW of energy, and meet 15% of this energy intensive building’s annual demand; however, during the summer months, the array will produce nearly 100% of IRIC’s energy needs.
BENEFITS: The benefits to the university are numerous! Rising energy costs are reduced and held stable for 25 years or more; the array is revenue neutral and repays the initial investment through energy generation; faculty and students gain access to a working array for research and tours; the scalable design can be installed in one or two phases; and U of I attracts the 63% of prospective students who prefer universities that are tackling the climate crisis, while simultaneously contributing to our institutional climate commitments!
SHARED FUNDING: The total project cost estimate is $365,000. Together with Facilities, the Sustainability Center, and ASUI we have raised 56% of the capital needed. Donations of $166 support the purchase of one solar panel or you can sponsor a portion of a panel at any giving level. All donations are appreciated and will be acknowledged in a permanent Kiosk located near the array.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! On behalf of the students, engineers, architects, and administrators working to bring renewable solar energy to campus, we couldn't do this without you. For more information contact Jeannie Matheison, Director, U of I Sustainability Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-885-0126, or Marc Compton, Mechanical Engineer, U of I Facilities at email@example.com or 208-885-7350.