NC State University Installs Student-Funded Spotlight Solar Structure to Drive Awareness and Adoption of Clean Energy
University significantly elevates visibility of solar on campus; aims to increase engagement and education around sustainability.
RALEIGH, NC. — October 12, 2015 — North Carolina State University (NC State) has today demonstrated its commitment to clean energy by unveiling a student-funded, architectural solar structure by Spotlight Solar on its Centennial campus. The 1.5 kilowatt tree-like structure will become part of NC State's wide array of energy efficiency initiatives, including 11 other on-campus solar installations, the first dating back to 1981. By installing the striking 16-foot solar structure in a highly visible part of the campus, the University aims to build engagement and education around sustainability, with the ultimate goal of becoming a catalyst for the adoption of clean energy.
The installation, located next to the new LEED Silver rated library, was led by students in NC State's Park Scholarships, the University's renowned program reflecting outstanding accomplishments and potential in leadership, service and character. The students raised money among their members, and received contributions from the student-funded NC State Sustainability Fund.
"This is a student gift to the University that is designed to drive everyday awareness of the University's commitment to clean energy," stated Nathan Pedder, one of three Park scholars who led the Class of 2015's Legacy Gift committee. "Our ultimate hope is that the solar tree brings visibility to solar energy and solar education." Additional funding came from the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, NC Clean Energy Technology Center, NC State Student Government, UNC System Association for Student Government, Centennial Campus Development Office. The university intends to add two more Spotlight Solar structures in the future, and tie them into a smart grid under development.
While Spotlight Solar provides aesthetic solar structures across the United States, this is the first installation on a university campus. Though sculptural in form, the solar structure is an engineered, purposeful system designed to supplement existing solar energy systems, and to create public engagement.
"Most roof-top solar installations are hidden from view. Our goal is to put solar at the forefront, where everyone can see it and experience the benefits of clean energy first-hand," stated Craig Merrigan, Spotlight Solar's co-founder and CEO. "Adding a solar structure in a high-visibility location helps promote public engagement and consideration of energy stewardship. We are privileged to be part of this effort, and have enormous respect for what the Park Scholars have done. NC State has invested in energy stewardship all around campus, and are now bringing clean energy right into the quad where people can interact with it and consider their own choices."
The project brought in expertise from the local area, with Pedder and fellow scholars Xavier Primus and Tori Huffman working with the university's architect, and local companies Yes! Solar Solutions and Spotlight Solar to complete the aesthetic solar installation.
Co-founder and Yes! Solar Solutions President Stew Miller said, "We are proud to have been selected as the solar integrator for the Park Scholars' legacy gift. We value our partnership with Spotlight Solar; we even have our own solar tree at our office!"
"Yes! Solar Solutions originated this project, in collaboration with the university students, and saw it through to a spectacular conclusion. They understood the long term impact the students were trying to create, and brought a highly distinctive solar installation to the heart of campus," said Merrigan.
Spotlight Solar is on track to install 37 solar structures across the USA in 2015, all geared towards driving the awareness and adoption of clean energy. Prior to Friday's unveiling, the company's most recent solar structure project was featured at Austin City Limits Music Festival, delivering and promoting clean energy to 450,000 event attendees across two consecutive weekends.
About Spotlight Solar
Spotlight Solar makes customers' properties distinctive with great looking solar energy structures. These novel structures complement other environmental measures and authentically remind people of those investments. By making solar more visible and attractive, Spotlight Solar hopes to accelerate the adoption of solar energy. Spotlight is a certified B Corporation, which means the company is out to do something good. For more information, visit www.spotlightsolar.com