By Katie Neitz

Lafayette took a major step toward advancing the sustainability goals of the College. Construction of an on-campus solar array on Kirby Sports Center’s roof is complete and operational. The project demonstrates the College’s commitment to sustainable action while also providing students, faculty, and staff research and learning opportunities. Increasing renewable energy on campus will not only help the College in its goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, but it will also provide experiential learning opportunities for students.

Faculty will integrate the project into courses, providing students a deeper understanding and a real-world example of solar at work. “This project is intended to visually articulate to the Lafayette community and visitors the College’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality and use the campus as a living laboratory,” says Delicia Nahman, director of sustainability. 

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The College engaged CustomerFirst Renewables for preliminary development and contracted with Pfister Energy, a top commercial solar developer and EPC based in Hawthorne, New Jersey, and Greenskies Clean Energy, a leader in commercial renewable energy solutions. Pfister Energy will be responsible for engineering and construction, and Greenskies will finance and manage the solar operations. Together, Greenskies and Pfister Energy are providing internship positions to Lafayette students for a five-year duration.

Lafayette students were invited to join the weekly calls and hear from professionals working in the renewable energy field. “By leveraging the campus as a living laboratory, Lafayette, in partnership with Greenskies and Pfister, was able to serve our students both inside and outside of the classroom,” Nahman says.

Emily Ross ’22, a chemical engineering major with a minor in environmental science, worked as a project intern during spring 2021 for the design and engineering phase. “I’m hoping to pursue a career in renewable energy after graduation, so getting a close-up look at this process was an exciting and informative opportunity,” Ross says. 

“Greenskies is excited to be part of this collaboration with Lafayette College and Pfister Energy that offers a cost-effective solution to bring locally generated clean electricity to the college,” said Stanley Chin, president and CEO of Greenskies. “Working with Lafayette to advance their sustainability initiatives is particularly rewarding, knowing that the project could serve as inspiration to their bright student body for years to come.”

“Lafayette College has shown its commitment to sustainability through its curriculum, operations, and culture,” added Sean Quin, vice president of strategy and business development at Pfister. “This commitment is on display with their new rooftop solar array at the Kirby Sports Center.  Pfister Energy is proud to partner with Lafayette College on this solar project and help continue to put their sustainability plans into action.”

Investing in the future

Sustainability is a priority at Lafayette College

The Office of Sustainability leads Lafayette College in advancing sustainability initiatives, transforming innovative ideas into meaningful solutions, and cultivating a culture committed to building a just, equitable world.

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