Leopards are going green. Lafayette College puts solar panels on Kirby Sports Center roof.

Lehigh Valley Live | Rudy Miller
April 30, 2022

Where others see an expansive roof, Lafayette College saw a space to generate clean energy.

The college just powered up 1,226 solar panels on the roof of the Kirby Sports Center, according to a news release Tuesday.

The release from Greenskies Clean Focus says the clean energy created from the solar panels over the next 25 years will be the equivalent of saving emissions from 2,085 gas-powered cars or preserving 11,450 acres of forest.

Greenskies partnered with Pfister Energy, a commercial solar developer and solar engineering, procurement and construction firm. Greenskies is based in North Haven, Connecticut. Pfister is from Hawthorne, New Jersey.

The panels on the Kirby Sports Center will generate around 545 megawatt-hours of clean energy every year. They are a step toward helping the Easton college meet the goals of its Climate Action Plan to become carbon neutral by 2035.

“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,” Lafayette College Director of Sustainability Delicia Nahman said in the news release.

Greenskies funded the construction at no upfront cost and will provide ongoing management and maintenance to the site, the release says. The companies are offering Lafayette students internship opportunities for five years.

Lafayette agreed in 2020 to join three other Pennsylvania colleges in a plan to buy clean energy from a 200-acre solar farm in Texas.

The full Climate Action Plan is on Lafayette’s website.

The Kirby Spots Center is the home of the Lafayette Leopards basketball program, but it also hosts many other sports and activities. About 75% of Lafayette students participate in varsity, junior varsity, club, intramural, or other recreational sports, according to the college website. The intramural program includes about three dozen sports and 15 club sports, it says.