On-Campus Solar Installation Begins

Lafayette News
June 16, 2021

Over its lifetime, the solar array will offset 9,625 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of taking more than 2,000 cars off the road

Installation of solar panels began June 1 on the sun-soaked roof of Kirby Sports Center. The approximately 470-kilowatt (kW) solar array will power operations at Kirby. The solar installation is expected to generate around 540 megawatt-hours (MWh) of clean, renewable energy annually. Over its lifetime, the solar array will offset 9,625 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO 2), or the equivalent of taking more than 2,000 cars off the road.

Increasing renewable energy on campus will not only help the College in its goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, but it will also provide experiential learning opportunities for students. Faculty will integrate the project into courses, providing students a deeper understanding and a real-world example of solar at work.

A rendering of a solar panel array on the roof of Kirby Sports Center.

“This project is intended to visually articulate to the Lafayette community and visitors the College’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality and use the campus as a living laboratory,” says Delicia Nahman, director of sustainability.

There are also plans to add an educational viewing station near Markle parking deck, which will provide visitors to the College information about the project and how it supports the College’s commitment to sustainability.

The College engaged CustomerFirst Renewables for preliminary development and contracted with Pfister Energy, a top commercial solar developer and EPC based in Hawthorne, New Jersey, and Greenskies Clean Energy, a leader in commercial renewable energy solutions. Pfister Energy will be responsible for engineering and construction, and Greenskies will finance and manage the solar operations. Together, Greenskies and Pfister Energy are providing internship positions to Lafayette students for a five-year duration.

Livestream Available

Watch the solar-panel installation as it progresses this summer.

Emily Ross ’22, a chemical engineering major with a minor in environmental science, worked as a project intern during spring 2021 for the design and engineering phase. “I’m hoping to pursue a career in renewable energy after graduation, so getting a close-up look at this process is an exciting and informative opportunity,” Ross says.

“Greenskies is pleased to partner with Pfister to help Lafayette achieve their sustainability goals and provide valuable internship opportunities to the student body,” says Stanley Chin, president and CEO of Greenskies. “Investing in solar energy is the easiest and single most cost-effective way for large institutions to reduce their carbon emissions.”

“Pfister Energy is excited to be a part of this project and proud of the benefits it will produce for the Lafayette College community,” says Wayne Pfisterer, president of Pfister Energy.

The project is expected to be completed in September this year.