When concerning the topics of sustainability and renewable sources, solar-powered technology has been one of the prime methods used to alleviate some of the global warming emissions and polluting factors that our environment continues to be exposed to.
In the United States alone, approximately 29% of global warming emissions are derived from electricity consumption and the use of nonrenewable resources to fuel that consumption. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, pollutants such as carbon dioxide, methane and soot act like a blanket when released into the atmosphere, trapping the sun’s heat and causing the planet to warm.
Greater use of solar energy provides many benefits to our planet, such as reduction in air and water emissions, lower carbon footprint and less overall use of harmful fossil fuels.
The city of Tallahassee has been pushing for more use of solar-powered energy and currently, there are two solar facilities located on the property of the Tallahassee International Airport. Solar Farm One, which is 20 megawatts, sits on 120 acres and Solar Farm Two, which is twice as big at 40 megawatts, sits on 240 acres. Together, these two facilities bring the city’s total solar power generation to 60 megawatts, according to the Tallahassee Solar Program.
Florida State University participated in Tallahassee’s Solar Program and recently expanded its pact with the city for another 15 years. Tallahassee’s Solar Energy Program offers all commercial and city residential consumers a sustainable option for electricity as well.
“The average Tallahassee household that participates in Tallahassee Solar at the 100% level will save 5.9 tons of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere annually,” the Program says. “That’s the equivalent of planting 2.4 acres of new forest each year.”
In comparison to the deal that FSU signed with the city back in 2018, which accounted for approximately 6% of solar energy throughout the university, this new deal accounts for about 30% of campus energy consumption being provided by solar-powered energy sources.
In order for this form of energy use to be utilized at the university, the program functions to tap into energy from the two solar farms which are transferred to the city’s electrical grid. From there, due to FSU’s agreement with this program, the solar energy is distributed to campus to be used by students and faculty.
“It makes me so happy to know that my university is taking our environment into consideration, and I believe it sets an example to students on how we should be protecting and preserving the environment,” said FSU student Kylie Lawrence. “Environmental sustainability is so important, especially nowadays due to the high percentage of harmful emissions released into the planet.”
According to a press release, Director of Campus Sustainability Elizabeth Swiman stated that the “fixed-rate cost outlined in the updated agreement allows for increased stability in long-term planning, hedging against the risk of future inflation and rising energy costs, particularly in the natural gas sector.”
“Expanding the amount of solar energy capacity available decreases the amount of natural gas needed to power campus, resulting in impactful shifts in our greenhouse-gas profile and emissions footprint,” Swiman said.
Students interested in learning more about climate change, pollution, and ways that we can help preserve our environment are encouraged to check out the United Nations Foundation website as well as several other credible sources of information.
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