September 04, 2020
Susquehanna University has been recognized as one of Pennsylvania’s leading universities when it comes to renewable energy, according to a new report by the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center.
The report, “America’s Top Colleges for Renewable Energy 2020: Who’s Leading the Transition to 100% Renewable Energy on Campus?” compares Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities to similar institutions across the nation in key energy sustainability metrics, and ranks campuses in three categories: shifting to renewable electricity, repowering buildings with clean energy, and adopting electric vehicles.
Susquehanna is ranked 18th nationwide for transitioning 50% of the university’s fleet to clean vehicles.
Susquehanna is also home to a 3.9 MW DC solar array that supplies 30 percent of the campus’ electricity needs — the largest university-sponsored solar array in Pennsylvania.
The 12,000-panel, 14-acre project is located at Susquehanna’s Center for Environmental Education and Research along the western border of campus on Sassafras Street. The array produces more than 5,300 megawatt hours (MWh) per year of electricity, enough to power all of the campus’ residence halls and avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking approximately 787 cars off the road each year.
The university employs a flock of sheep to graze around the solar array to keep the grass trimmed, as tall grass and weeds cast sun-blocking shade that impedes the array’s efficiency. The sheep also eliminate the need for diesel-fueled lawnmowers — further demonstrating the university’s commitment to sustainability.
The university also purchases remaining energy from sustainable sources.
“College campuses are natural leaders when it comes to transitioning to 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Ashleigh Deemer, deputy director at PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center. “We’re excited to celebrate the fact that so many colleges and universities in Pennsylvania are leading the way in doing just that.”
The PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center is a statewide non-profit environmental group dedicated to protecting water, air and open spaces.