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Colleges Around the Country Are About to Get Millions of Dollars Worth of Solar Power Equipment, Totally Free

A new clean energy initiative is making it that much easier–and cheaper–for schools nationwide to go green.

image via DC Solar Freedom

By now, the idea that we can make a wholesale transition from traditional fuel sources to renewable forms of energy seems less like a pipe dream, and more and like a realistic potential scenario. Airports, cities, and even entire states are making the switch to solar, wind, and wave power as clean, abundant energy alternatives. Now, thanks to a new initiative from a leading solar power institution, colleges and universities across the United States will soon be able to join the green energy movement, as well. What’s more, they’ll be able to do it all for free.

In a press release issued last month, California-based Benefit Corporation DC Solar Freedom announced that they would be spearheading plans to make millions of dollars worth of solar equipment available for higher ed institutions across the country, at no cost to the schools themselves. The “Collegate Placement Program,” explains the release, is “an underwriting process that allows companies wishing to expand their sustainability efforts and reduce their carbon footprint to subsidize off-grid power on campus,” and will provide things like mobile solar power generators, charging stations for electric cars, and outdoor lighting. All told, DC Solar Freedom expects upwards of $150 million dollars worth of their solar equipment to be made available through the program in the coming year alone.

image via DC Solar Freedom

The CPP was introduced at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference last month. Said DC Solar Freedom founder and CEO Jeff Carpoff:

Campuses are often caught between capital costs and trying to reduce their carbon footprint. Our experience at UCLA has shown that there is a lot of passion and determination with student organizations to integrate clean energy into their daily lives, but their budgets are limited. Paulette [Carpoff, DC Solar Freedom co-founder] and I wanted to find a solution to get them the solar power and services they need without straining their resources. DC Solar Freedom was the answer.

But, as is often just as important when it comes to encouraging the adoption of a new technology, the solar power service itself is only one way this initiative is helping usher in an era of green energy. Eric Sirotkin, who serves as DC Solar Freedom’s VP and Director of Global Sustainability, continues:

The DC Solar unit is the only generator utilizing clean power, and its highly visible presence not only helps a university demonstrate its commitment to move away from fossil fuels, but it becomes a point of dialogue about renewables, as well as encourages ecologically creative thinking by students as they head out to pursue their careers.

By normalizing alternative energy options for students en masse, the Collegiate Placement Program’s impact could reach far beyond campus, and help the next generation of thinkers see a world run on solar power (and wind, and wave, and whatever new form of alternative energy hasn’t even been discovered yet) as not just a pipe dream, and not just a realistic potential scenario, either. Rather, if we’re lucky, the CPP and other green-energy initiatives like it, could help ensure that the transition to sustainable, renewable, clean sources of energy is nothing less than inevitable.

[via inhabitat]

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