Bucknell University has partnered with Encore Renewable Energy of Burlington, Vermont, to install a 1.6-MW solar array on approximately seven acres of university-owned land beyond Bucknell’s West Athletic Field and Art Barn, near the 12th fairway of Bucknell Golf Club. Encore will provide comprehensive project development, financing and construction services to advance the project.
A rendering of Bucknell University’s new solar project.
The plan received approval from the East Buffalo Township Board of Supervisors on April 12.
The solar project will advance Bucknell’s strategic commitment to sustainability and enhance opportunities for renewable-energy focused teaching and research across multiple disciplines. In addition, the project will generate property tax revenues to East Buffalo Township, provide Bucknell with price certainty on energy rates for the next several decades, and strengthen the region’s commitment to the production and use of renewable energy.
Creating a sustainable future through the responsible stewardship of the University’s financial, natural, human and other resources is one of four strategic commitments of Bucknell’s Strategic Plan.
“Bucknell has been actively seeking opportunities to increase its use of renewable energy and reduce its dependency on carbon-producing sources,” said Victor Udo, director of campus sustainability. “For more than two years now, the university has explored the installation of a solar array as a source of sustainable energy that can benefit both the university and the community. It will also provide an opportunity for student education and research in this rapidly expanding field.”
The proposed site will provide prime sun exposure and is not in close proximity to residential properties. The project will consist of south-facing panels tilted at 25 to 30°, with a maximum height of 9 ft. The site will be surrounded with an agricultural fence to ensure safety and will be replanted with pollinator-friendly vegetation between the panels to attract bees, butterflies and other species critical to the area’s future food security.
“The energy transition is upon us and we applaud Bucknell University for demonstrating leadership regarding the financial, environmental and social benefits of securing electrical generation resources for its facilities from new sources of renewable energy” said Chad Farrell, founder and CEO of Encore Renewable Energy. “This project will provide the University with cost savings while offering a hands-on educational opportunity for students interested in learning more about the fast-growing professional field of renewable energy. As an alumnus, I am personally thrilled to see my alma mater advancing this important project.”