Solar Panels on South Campus Help SU Reach Energy Goals

Tyler Poyant read a Tweet over the summer stating that solar thermal panels were being installed on South Campus apartments. Having lived on South Campus last year and planning to again this year, this environmental step made by SU affects Poyant, a junior illustration major, and hundreds of other South Campus residents.

Solar panels have been installed on South Campus apartments.

Solar panels have been installed on South Campus apartments.

To help Syracuse University reach its goal of being carbon neutral by 2040, Energy Systems and Sustainability Management, in conjunction with Auxiliary Services, installed 240 solar thermal panels on the roofs of 20 buildings serving 160 three-bedroom South Campus apartments.

Poyant thinks the panels are a great idea, though he said he hasn’t noticed a big difference between his apartment with panels and his one last year without them.

The difference is that the three-bedroom apartments now have the ability to use solar energy to heat their water, in addition to a hot water heater. A total of 40 systems, six panels per system, were installed to save energy by using the sun instead of electricity to heat the water, says Brooke Wears, ESSM project analyst.

Another benefit of the solar thermal panels is “to educate students as well as create awareness of renewable energy technologies,” Wears says. Each system has a data logger, which logs the information and sends it to a website where ESSM can analyze the data.

Junior communications design major Jocelyn Teres heard before arriving on campus that the panels were installed on her future three-bedroom apartment on South Campus. “I am always happy when SU takes steps to become more environmentally conscious. A few jokes were made about how much sunlight would actually reach them in this climate, but I think that every effort helps,” says Teres.

Junior information management and technology major Kyle Hershan said he noticed the panels on his apartment right away. Hershan, like Teres, was unaware the panels were being used specifically to heat his South Campus apartment water.

ESSM is reducing the University’s dependence on fossil fuels by utilizing the sun’s energy, and is allowing the University to save energy by using the sun instead of electricity to heat water.

“I immediately thought the panels were fantastic. I am all about saving the environment.  One person can make a huge difference,” says Hershan. “I was very impressed with the University for taking the right steps to save the environment.”

For more information about sustainability at SU, visit the SU Sustainability website, follow @SustainableSU on Twitter and check out the Syracuse University Sustainability Facebook page.

Emily Pompelia is a work-study student in the Office of News Services.