November 12, 2013
VSU Continues Sustainability Efforts with New Solar Canopy
VALDOSTA – Valdosta State University continues its sustainability efforts with the recent addition of a solar canopy behind Odum Library. A ceremony will be held to celebrate the addition Friday, Nov. 15 at 2:30 p.m.
This ceremony is sponsored by Students Against Violating the Environment (S.A.V.E.) and Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy (WACE).
“This addition is really symbolic of the direction that we would like to see the VSU move towards,” said Danielle Jordan, president of S.A.V.E. “We have projects lined up the rest of the 2013-14 year as part of our investment campaign and they all focus on a move toward a more sustainable campus.”
The solar canopy was a fairly quick project, which started Aug. 26 and was completed by mid-September, according to Dr. Michael Noll, associate professor of geosciences and president of WACE.
“The solar project resembles an important first step for VSU, as it indicates that we are moving in the right direction,” said Noll. “Just as the lunar landing may have been one of the most important events in the last half of the twentieth century, the development of clean and renewable sources of energy, improvements in energy efficiency and energy savings, and campaigns to invest in socially and environmentally responsible stocks are all part of ‘a giant leap for mankind’ and instrumental in the environmental stewardship needed for the 21st century.”
Noll said that the idea for solar panels at VSU had been explored since 2006, but funding limitations hindered the university from moving forward.
“At that time solar panels were still too expensive,” said Noll. “Much has changed since then, though, as the price of solar panels has dropped dramatically in the last couple of years. What once cost more than $12 per watt can now cost less than $4.”
An April phone conference between Noll and members of the university’s administration revisited the institution’s solar options.
“The combination of our solar phone conference in April, plus available end-of-year funds, likely created the last push needed to make this project happen,” said Noll.
The solar panels used for the 10kW canopy behind Odum Library were manufactured by Enphase Energy and installed by Hannah Solar.
“Our thanks go to VSU President William McKinney, whose support was instrumental for this project,” Noll said.
Noll added special thanks to Ray Sable, director of plant operations, and Dr. Victoria Douglass, architect, who “both provided the know-how for this project,” as well as Dr. Sue Fuciarelli, vice president of finance and administration, and Rob Kellner, director of auxiliary services, for “participating in earlier solar conversations.”
Light refreshments will be served after the solar canopy ceremony. The event is open to the public.