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Feasibility of Solar Power Integration on College Campuses

This research project has been conducted for two main reasons, the first being the limited existing literature regarding college campus utilization of solar technologies. This allows universities to leverage both lower electricity costs for financial gain as well as creating a more resilient internal grid which is centralized around clean energy. The second is the state of climate change in today’s world. With college campuses being large scale operations which consume an immense amount of electricity annually, it is critical to transition these campuses to a cleaner energy system in hopes of making stride towards the larger goal at hand. In order to gain insight on the topic, virtual interviews were conducted with two sustainability professionals who work for two different colleges that have integrated these technologies– Endicott College and Hampshire College. The findings of these interviews were apparent: Purchase Power Agreements (PPA) are often used as it allows for low upfront costs and a fixed rate on electricity from the grid which is usually lower than market rate. Secondly, each school has a different plan on how to integrate the systems as there are various variables that come into play due to existing infrastructure, land availability and sun exposure. Lastly the importance of batteries which aids in the storage of electricity which can be used during peak usage hours. In conclusion, solar is feasible for college campuses as there are many ways it can be implemented with manageable financial stress.

Samuel Hilton '23  
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