SOU Installs Solar Panels on Roof

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ASHLAND, Ore. — An Ashland building just became more green, thanks to more than a hundred solar panels.

Southern Oregon University is already known for its environmentally friendly campus, but now the students with a passion for sustainability are taking it to an entirely different level. 117 solar panels are now soaking up the sun on top of the Stevenson Union.

Students paid for part of the bill for the solar panels to the tune of $63,000. Those dollars came from student tax money. Two years ago, 85% of SOU students voted yes to pay up to $15 per term to invest in sustainability initiatives like these panels. The rest of the 100K price tag came from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

“These panels will generate energy from the sun and then it’ll feed back into the electric grid in Ashland and so it will kind of be sparsed out to everyone but […] in the end it will come off of the utility bill of the university,” said Sustainability Coordinator Roxane Beigel-Coryell.

Student tax money also covers a project to offset water usage on campus. Four dollars and fifty cents from each quarter’s tax money allows farmers to put water back into streams that are running low on water. It’s projects like those that ranked the school at Number 26 in the nation as a “cool school”.

This batch of solar panels is the second of its kind here on the Ashland campus but students say there’s room for two to three times this amount on this roof alone.