Two separate arrays, one atop Lewis Hall and another that looms over Washington and Lee University’s parking deck, deploy a total of 1,572 high-efficiency photo-voltaic panels aimed to soak in the sun and convert the solar energy to electricity.
Estimates suggest the solar arrays will cover about 3 percent of the university’s electricity needs. Last year W&L spent about $1.65 million on electricity.
In early August, when W&L first announced the deal with Secure Futures, a news release quoted Kenneth Ruscio, the university’s president. He said the arrangement provided “another instance of how we are aligning our institutional practices with what we preach to our students about their duties as responsible citizens and their obligations to future generations.”
Meanwhile, W&L has taken on other sustainability initiatives across campus, including, among other efforts, composting, focusing on using local and organic foods, emphasizing energy conservation, using fewer resources and generating less waste.
Beebe said his research suggests W&L falls within the top 10 percent of private schools nationally for the combined size of its solar arrays.
Founded in 1749, Washington and Lee University is named for two of the most influential men in American history: George Washington, whose generous endowment of $20,000 in 1796 helped the fledgling school (then known as Liberty Hall Academy) survives, and Robert E. Lee, whose presidency and innovative leadership brought the University into the national limelight.
Secure Futures designs, develops and co-finances distributed solar solutions with and for tax-exempt entities to reduce their electricity costs and to protect against future grid price increases through 15 to 25 year solar power purchase agreements (SPPAs).