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Dickinson College to expand solar energy use

Dickinson College to expand solar energy use

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Dickinson College is continuing its efforts to go green.

A 15-acre tract of land within a 30-acre field currently used for farming will soon become a 3-megawatt solar array field to generate energy for the school, according to Bruce Koziar, the planning, zoning and codes manager for Carlisle.

“The remaining 15 acres will stay as crop farming,” Koziar said.

The parcel of land is located beyond the college’s athletic fields on the southern side of Route 11.

It’s owned by Dickinson College but has been rented for a number of years to a farmer who grows soybeans and corn on it, said Neil Leary, director of the school’s Center for Sustainability Education.

Carlisle Borough Council Dec. 8 approved the final land development plan for the solar array.

“The solar array is estimated to generate and account for approximately 25 percent of Dickinson’s electricity consumption and to significantly reduce carbon emissions,” said Christine Baksi, director of media relations at the college. “We’ve partnered with California-based clean-energy provider SolarCity, which will install and maintain the panels at no cost to Dickinson.”

Craig Layne, assistant director of media relations at the college, said the solar array will join several other solar facilities on campus and in the greater Carlisle area. They’re located on Kaufman Hall, the Waidner-Spahr Library, the Althouse Trellis, the Center for Sustainable Living and at the Dickinson College Organic Farm near Boiling Springs.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a non-profit organization that’s hoping to help power America with the renewable energy source through education and advocacy, solar power is defined as energy from the sun converted into thermal or electrical energy.

Leary estimates the solar panels will be installed next spring or summer, and will go online and start producing electricity by January 2018.

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