Centre College’s student-led proposal to install a solar photovoltaic array on campus has been chosen to receive $10,000 from Pepsico Recycling’s Zero Impact Fund (ZIF). Centre is one of eight schools selected nationally to receive funding through ZIF, a program designed to help bring campus eco-innovations to life.
Centre’s proposal called for an on-site solar photovoltaic system as a “phased” project. The first phase, supported by the PepsiCo grant, will include all of the planning, design and engineering for the full installation and will also support the installation of the first 5 kW of capacity, or 15-20 panels. In subsequent phases, as funds become available, the initial design will be extended to the statutory limit of 30 kW (100-120 panels).
Centre’s Student Government Association (SGA) and Centre Environmental Association (CEA) have been actively involved in both the ZIF grant process and raising the additional funds for future phases. Zach Schmucker ’18, junior class representative of SGA, and Caitlin Yockey ’17, treasurer of CEA, helped spearhead the project.
“Our goals are to create a starting point for solar energy on campus and have it serve as a physical manifestation of Centre’s goal to go carbon neutral in the coming years,” Schmucker says. “To be a candidate for the ZIF we had to submit an application detailing our proposed project, as well as why Centre was a place ready for an investment in zero impact energy.”
“We hope that this will motivate other students to put forth a larger effort to do projects like this,” Yockey says. “We think this is a great step in the right direction and I am happy to be a part of the process!”
In its first year, 40 colleges and universities submitted project proposals for the PepsiCo Recycling Zero Impact Fund for the 2016-2017 school year, which were evaluated by a PepsiCo committee. Project proposals were evaluated based on environmental and social impact, feasibility, longevity and ingenuity.
“The Zero Impact Fund showcases great examples of the innovative and sustainable ideas that can come from college campuses,” said Tim Carey, senior director of sustainability at PepsiCo. “We’re excited to see how our Zero Impact Fund recipients will bring their campus eco-innovations to life and are proud to play a role in helping implement original ideas that reduce the impact that college campuses and their business partners have on the environment.”
Several firms in the region have been sent a Request for Proposals, with an objective of completing phase one by the end of September. The location of the panels is yet to be finalized.
by Cindy Long