Universities are often caught between the bottom line and their responsibility to the environment. Since electricity costs are still currently so low, monetary concerns often overshadow environmental ones.
To combat this problem, Californian company DC Solar Freedom, in collaboration with DC Solar Distribution, will grant free solar power generators to many colleges and universities across the country.
The program will provide solar generators, light towers and car charging stations at no cost. It will provide solar energy to the students and staff, but it will also begin to integrate alternative energy into the current infrastructure. Introducing solar into the current electrical systems is often a limiting factor in deciding whether to switch to renewable energy.
DC Solar Freedom is a benefit corporation that was founded by Jeff and Paulette Carpoff. Jeff explains that universities in particular are keen to adopt clean energy, but that they face tight budgets year after year. The systems the company will provide typically cost around $150,000, but those provided to the universities will be paid for by a sponsor. DC Solar Freedom does this by finding companies who want to “expand their sustainability efforts” and offset their carbon footprint. These companies will ultimately pay for the generators.
The free solar power generators are fitted with a number of solar panels, and are also equipped with biodiesel backup generators so that they never lose power. The company points out that even on cloudy days, however, the systems will still have a capacity of 20-30%, since they use a solar array.
Images (c) Oregon DOT and Simbiosc