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Brookhaven College employee newsletter: Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Donation to Fund Solar Arrays

Donation to Fund Solar Arrays

The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club donated $60,000 to Brookhaven College to fund the college campus’ first solar arrays, ensuring the futures of students are even brighter.

Expanding the college's environmental curriculum, Brookhaven College will also receive an educational display to teach students how the arrays produce energy. The Sun Club is a unique program enabling Green Mountain Energy Company’s residential customers, including many in the Dallas County area, to donate solar power to non-profits and schools, like Brookhaven College.

The college is dedicated to reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and the installation of these solar arrays from the Sun Club will help them achieve those reductions. The college is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, focused on teaching students and community to make a commitment to improving the environment.

“This generous donation from the Sun Club will not only help us reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, but also help us teach our students about the importance of sustainable energy sources, and solar in particular,” said Thom D. Chesney, president, Brookhaven College. “Providing quality educational programs to our students is central to our mission, and these solar arrays will provide outstanding learning opportunities and experiences to enhance our strategic goals."

One of the arrays will be located at the college’s Geotechnology Institute, established on the campus to promote Earth Systems science education for professional geoscientists through seminars and industry events. Students will learn about the solar arrays and sustainable energy sources with expanded environmental curricula. Faculty across various disciplines at the college also will be able to build teaching lessons that allow hands-on practice with solar energy.

Don Hellstern, dean of the Brookhaven College Geotechnology Institute, applied for the Sun Club donation and was selected as a recipient based on the curriculum’s focus on energy education. Don had worked with the Sun Club previously while teaching at another college in the Dallas County Community College system.

An energy use monitor will be installed in conjunction with the array, and be used as a direct teaching tool for students and visitors. Another solar array will provide lighting for a new pedestrian bridge, to be constructed on the campus later this year.

“We are pleased to be funding these solar array installations at Brookhaven College and are excited to see how these students will use what they learn about sustainable energy in the future,” said Tony Napolillo, Sun Club Program Manager, Green Mountain Energy Company. “Our customers and Sun Club members made this donation possible – their small contributions each month have created a large impact, and this donation is a testament to their commitment to the environment.”