Issue #8: Solar on Campus?

Dear Sustainable Abigail,

I am a first year at Bates, and one of the reasons I love it so much here is for all the efforts I see daily to make the campus a more sustainable place. I love that we don’t have paper cups, and that we have special recycling bins, and everything around that I see. But, one thing I often think about is energy, and more specifically solar energy. So, I’ve just been wondering, are we moving towards solar energy on campus?

-Energetic about (sustainable) energy

Dear Energetic about (Sustainable) Energy,

I’m really glad you brought this question up! It’s pretty wonderful that you are so excited about sustainable energy, and I do have some answers for you. You may or may not know that Bates has a house in Phippsburg, Maine, called “Shortridge,” that students are welcome to reserve and visit with clubs throughout the year, as well as stay at and do research or work in the area during the summer. This house is pretty neat for a multitude of reasons, including its beautiful location right down the road from Popham Beach and its warm, homey atmosphere. However, speaking as a Sustainability advocate myself, I think the best part about Shortridge is that just this year Shortridge has become 100% solar! Over the past two years, the Ecoreps and others involved in Bates sustainability have been contributing to this important work by doing research, garnering support and funding for the project, and eventually helping install the solar panels to the roof. Finally, this year, the work was complete. In October 2017, Shortridge officially became 100% solar, and Bates officially became even more sustainable. If you are interested in learning more about that process, check out this great article that was written about it, which includes a video of the installation process:

All of that being said, I still haven’t gotten around to your main inquiry. In regards to whether Bates is moving towards solar on campus, the answer is… YES! Shortridge’s solar energy was one step in a long walk towards Bates solar and other renewable energy practices. As we speak, the sustainability heroes of Bates are in the process of researching funding sources and related contributors that play into making solar energy a reality on the main campus. Of course, this is a long process and quite a feat, so it won’t be something that happens tomorrow, but keep your spirits up because solar on campus is definitely in the works! Thanks for writing!

-Sustainable Abigail


*Content originally published in The Bates Student Newspaper*