Sen. John Bonacic recently secured the grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for SUNY New Paltz. The solar panels will allow for a greener campus and afford greater educational opportunities. They will be used as a teaching model in both engineering courses and in general education (GE) courses.
Students will be able to access the roof for a hands on experience, but can also measure numerical results from classrooms and their cell phones. This will be good because students can extend their learning experience outside the classroom.
Professor Mike Otis will use the solar panels in his GE course, “Renewable Energy.” We think this is a great step in educating the campus about the importance of sustainable energy.
However, we recommend that the Engineering Department attempt to work with other majors within the School of Science. This will help ensure that knowledge will not be limited within a small group of students.
The campus solar panels are not part of a Stand-Alone system. Our energy grid ties back to Central Hudson Gas & Electric, which will help offset future costs for the university.
Although the positive economic aspects of adding these solar panels will not be immediately evident, we commend the administration for thinking about how the campus will benefit in the long term.
Currently there are 24 solar panels installed on Resnick Engineering Hall’s roof and the plan is to build 18 more. We hope that facilities will stay on track and execute their plan in a timely, efficient matter.
SUNY New Paltz prides itself on being a green campus and continually strives to find ways to be environmentally conscious. We think it’s prudent that the administration look into implementing solar panels in the numerous campus renovations and construction projects.
However, we understand solar panels cannot be the lone source of energy, so it is necessary to seek other sustainable sources. The community at large is also considering green initiatives. For example, Mayor Jason West has expressed interest in promoting the use of biodiesel fuel. This kind of big picture thinking is what we need to do.
We urge the campus and local community to work together in search of alternative energy sources. The environmental crisis is a universal cause that affects us all and working together could prove to be fiscally responsible.
The New Paltz community has shown they are very conscious of sustainability, but this is not necessarily true of other parts of New York and the greater nation. We all impact the environment together, so our actions have to be a collective effort as well. If our small town begins taking strides, who knows what we can achieve?