Community Solar on State

Our Story

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For nearly a decade Penn State faculty, staff, and students have been working together to incorporate solar photovoltaic power within the University Park space, and also to engage our surrounding communties in solar energy opportunities. The efforts have demonstrated a strong collective will to grow solar capacity, both on campus and in the surrounding region.

Now we have an opportunity to develop a next generation culture of solar farming, as PA has only 15% less solar capacity than most of the Southwestern states. We seek to cultivate the growing sense of ownership for local energy resilience in the area, encouraging local stability, growth, viability, and vitality. By developing a platform to grow PV, we also take steps to enrich the memory of our central PA region as the best place on earth to nurture the future of energy and innovation.

Through ReInvention Fund support 2014-2015 from the PSU Sustainability Institute, our team---led by Jeffrey Brownson (EME), Rob Cooper (OPP), and Susan Stewart (Aero/AE)---had applied a process of integrative design to implement and document multi-stakeholder engagement and project planning. We reached out to leading design facilitator John Boecker of 7group, and held a series of powerful workshops to grow the concept of solar farming here, in our community.

 

WORKSHOPS

OUR COMMUNITIES

  • Six Townships
  • PSU

OUTCOMES

  • UAJA water - Cory Miller interview
  • Stronger community
  • Stronger PSU
  • Commitment to solar
  • Social capital toward solar
  • Human Capacity 
    • Student class gift (including solar bus stations @ PSU - a spillover affect)