Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, was featured in the Daily Journal for its work with SunVest Solar to install and maintain 3,100 solar panels on the roofs of the Perry Student Life Center and Hawkins Centennial Chapel. Installation began in May with the goal to begin generating clean energy by the start of the school year.
ONU is expecting to save an average of $45,000 per year using the energy generated on the two buildings, and will increase the percentage of renewable energy used from 9 percent to 19 percent. The solar energy generated on campus will go directly into the buildings for immediate use, with any unused, excess energy to go into the central grid.
ONU entered a 25-year agreement with SunVest Solar. SunVest will assume all costs of maintenance and upkeep, and will retain full ownership of the panels during the contract. ONU put no money down for the project.
Three years ago, in a faculty presentation during Olivet’s annual Scholar Week, Dr. Nick Boros, professor of mathematics, presented an analysis of what the energy cost-savings might be if Olivet installed solar arrays on campus. His results demonstrated that the venture would likely be profitable and pay for itself in a few years. Dr. Mike Pyle, associate dean of the Walker School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and Dr. Ryan Himes, professor of biology were intrigued by the analysis and conducted further research on how to implement the idea at the University.
“This solar project has demonstrated great collaboration across campus,” said Dr. David Pickering, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President. “The savings will continue to benefit the work of the University and allow an even greater investment in the work of the University.”