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Solar sustainability at Mountaintop

As part of Lehigh’s energy-conscious efforts, six students led an initiative earlier this year to install solar panels next to the Community Garden on the Goodman Campus.

The project was part of Lehigh’s Mountaintop initiative and was pioneered by Bill Best, professor of practice in mechanical engineering and mechanics, and Breena Holland, associate professor of political science and a participating faculty member in Lehigh’s Environmental Initiative. Both served as advisors to the students.

The Mountaintop project was based around the idea of sustainable farming at the gardens—to create an energy-independent food-growing farm. As a result, 16 solar panels now sit on the campus, 12 of which were purchased several years ago with money from a Lehigh Integrated Product Development (IPD) program grant.

“The panels are used to provide electricity to power the water pump, which pumps water out of the well and into the gardens,” Holland said. “Having these panels means we use their energy from the sun instead of needing to use a diesel generator.”

The 16 panels produce a maximum of 255 watts each, creating a maximum ceiling of just over 4,000 watts of energy. While this is not only an ample amount of energy for the current demand at the community garden, it serves as a much cleaner and viable option, Holland explained.

“A lot of what we did was putting together proposals for the panel installation, because we needed more funding,” said Michael Miller ’17, who worked directly on the plans for the solar panels and the sustainable farming project.

Read the full story at the Lehigh University News Center.

-Henry Greenberg '17 is a Journalism major in the College of Arts and Sciences at Lehigh University.

October 21, 2016

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