Bridgewater College, 14 other private, nonprofit colleges in the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) and the U.S. Department of Energy have joined forces to help develop comprehensive plans for implementing solar power on area campuses.
Money for the three-year program will come through the CICV via an $807,000 award provided by the Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.
The program will help Bridgewater and partner schools navigate complex legal, regulatory and technical challenges associated with installing solar-powered systems. It will also provide group purchasing to achieve price reductions for hardware and installation services and create a learning network accessible by other organizations considering solar power.
Consulting services will be provided to CICV by Optony, Inc., a global consulting firm focused on solar energy.
“Bridgewater College was one of the key members of the project development team from start to project implementation” said Teshome Molalenge, director, center for sustainability, at Bridgewater. “The funding will help Bridgewater and its fellow CICV colleges mitigate the high cost of solar technology, clear technical, legal and regulatory hurdles and provide multiple learning opportunities for students and employees alike.”
Molalenge also noted that the project – which will create and implement a replicable plan for participating institutions to deploy solar electricity within five years – will strengthen Bridgewater’s overall sustainability and environmental stewardship, as mandated by the college’s strategic plan.
In addition to Bridgewater, the 15 colleges involved in the collaborative initiative are Appalachian School of Law, Eastern Mennonite University, Emory & Henry College, Ferrum College, Hampton University, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Mary Baldwin College, Marymount University, Randolph College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Virginia Union University and Washington & Lee University.