Clean, renewable solar energy is a growing part of Denison's commitment to sustainability.
That commitment began in the 1960s with the foundation of the Biological Reserve, a 350 acre parcel set aside for student and faculty research, as well as enjoyment by the community.
It continued with the establishment of the Homestead, in the 1970s. An alternative student living arrangement, off the energy grid, the Homestead is one of the first such communities in the country, and is still going strong today.
Denison has been forward-thinking with regard to sustainable energy use as well. In 2007, we built our first solar array, atop the library. It was one of the first such arrays in an Ohio college, and was quickly followed by two others on the roofs of other buildings.
Denison's newest solar array, which will be activated in December of 2017, will provide 2.3 megawatts of power, about 10 percent of the college's energy use.
The college is partnering on the array with AEP Energy. Denison provided about 10 acres of “compromised” land, the top soil had been removed for other uses and scrub trees and nonnative plants had filled the void.
AEP Energy built the solar arrays and provides Denison with the energy at a reduced cost.
The solar arrays significantly reduce Denison carbon footprint — by about 15 percent. This is an important piece of the college's commitment to carbon neutrality.
A smaller section of solar arrays has been installed behind the Big Red recycling station. This array is used for educational purposes for both Denison students and the community.