When people think about solar energy, they tend to assume it’s in reference to residential energy supply or commercial projects where companies set up fields of solar panels. But one place that gets overlooked is the university.
Solar power has many benefits for colleges and college students, and some of these benefits go beyond the apparent reduction in carbon footprint. Here are the three ways solar energy benefits universities and student life on campus.
Benefit #1: Lower Energy Costs
An obvious benefit for universities is that solar energy is cheaper than fossil fuels in the long run. And with advancements in technologies, it may soon become cheaper upfront too.
As PV panels and solar generators become increasingly available at lower costs, it’s allowing more people to invest in this technology. Converting energy from the sun is not only less expensive than drawing on grid electricity in terms of energy production, but it’s also quickly proving to be cheaper than any other type of electricity.
College campuses are among those that are taking advantage of the lower costs of this power source. Universities across the country have begun installing and using arrays that gather the energy produced by the sun. The switch to renewable energy has enabled these campuses to benefit from the cost-saving benefits while reducing their carbon footprint.
Benefit #2: Opportunities Aplenty
Inviting solar companies to college campuses, whether for installing panels and generators or teaching the student body about renewable resources, presents exciting opportunities for the community at large. Companies that seek to use the sun’s power can easily excite students learning about the sciences, business, and sustainability. And, of course, these businesses can also present career opportunities for dynamic students looking to work in this field.
There are opportunities for students and staff in solar power, which amounts to hundreds of thousands of jobs across multiple industries. Examinations of the data show that as this energy source continues to become a more critical part of American infrastructure, opportunities in environmental sciences, green technologies, and more will only grow in scope.
Whether in employment or research, college students benefit plenty from opportunities related to solar power.
Benefit #3: Design Details
Colleges and universities are ideal locations for solar panels for one particular reason: their roofs. Roofs on campuses have a tendency to be flat and to be unshaded, which makes them excellent locations for the panels needed to capture the power generated by the sun.
Roofs on houses and other buildings outside of universities are not always flat or unshaded, making it tricker and often less effective to install panels on them in the first place.
Installing panels at colleges and universities spreads the usage of this power source, increasing its popularity. Their prevalence also helps normalise the usage of the power generated by the sun, which will help others grow more used to it as well.
There are many reasons for colleges to pursue this alternative to fossil fuels. While solar power is not the most common energy source on campus yet, it is becoming increasingly popular as universities and students join the green revolution.