On Friday, May 12, Lawrence University celebrated the completion of its newly installed 217-kilowatt solar array. Lawrence University is a nonprofit, mission-based college with over 1,500 students from nearly every state and over 30 countries that is dedicated to educating undergraduate students in the liberal arts and sciences. 

This solar array was installed by Faith Technologies at their Björklunden North Campus in Bailey’s Harbor, WI and is the most significant initiative in their goal of creating a net zero carbon emissions facility. This ground-mounted array consists of 536 solar panels and will produce 279,000 kWh of annual energy. With this solar installation, Björklunden’s entire annual energy usage will be offset.

This solar installation is not the first sustainability initiative taken on by Lawrence University’s North Campus. Their 441-acre lakeshore property is also home to a wind turbine and a soon-to-be geothermal installation. These renewable energy implementations create a unique opportunity for the University’s students to be able to study three energy sources—solar, wind, and geothermal—in one location.

“Sustainability is one of Lawrence’s four core values and—because it is a critical component of responsible citizenship—central to our educational mission,” says Mark Breseman, Associate Vice President of Alumni and Constituency Engagement. “Installing solar affirms our dedication to a sustainable future and advances our educational mission.” 

This solar energy project was funded from several sources including Focus on Energy Funds, fundraising from friends, alumni, and the Door County Community, and a $10,000 grant from Solar for Good, a RENEW Wisconsin program created in partnership with the Couillard Solar Foundation with the goal of expanding solar energy in Wisconsin. 

“The solar project will enhance the education we offer students and visitors, relieve energy costs to support our educational mission, facilitate research and technical innovations in solar and other forms of clean energy, and nurture environmental stewardship in the county,” continued Breseman. 

The completion of their 217-kilowatt solar array at Björklunden is a significant milestone in Lawrence University’s journey towards achieving net-zero. By prioritizing sustainability, the university not only demonstrates its dedication to its educational mission but to advancing a renewable energy future. This installation enhances education, reduces energy costs, promotes research and innovation, and fosters environmental stewardship, setting an example for other institutions and communities aspiring to build a cleaner, greener future.