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Antioch College breaks ground on new solar farm

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio—September 8, 2014— Antioch College recently broke ground on a 1+ Megawatt solar farm, marking a major milestone on its path to carbon neutrality. The College plans to hold an official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the project later this fall.

The solar farm—a collaboration between Antioch College, Solar Power and Light (SP&L), and SolarCity, the nation’s largest solar service provider—will include approximately 3,300 solar panels, built on five acres of College property adjacent to the Antioch Farm. Under the agreement, SP&L will build and maintain the solar array on College property under contract with SolarCity, while SolarCity alone will finance and own the installation, selling the generated power to Antioch. The 1.2 million kilowatt hours per year of solar generation capacity are expected to completely offset the electrical consumption of the College’s $8.8 million central geothermal plant, currently under construction.  

By 2018, Antioch will be among the first colleges in America fueled almost exclusively by alternative energy (90% of the campus’ electric consumption is projected to be sourced from renewable energy by that time). More specifically, campus planners believe Antioch College is the first higher education institution to install a 1+ Megawatt solar array to completely offset a 345-­‐ton central geothermal plant.

The College’s alternative energy efforts will also offer the campus significant long-term savings. The central geothermal plant is projected to save $500,000 in annual maintenance and energy costs, and, combined with the solar array, the College estimates a savings of more than $15 million over the approximate 30-year life span of both facilities.

“We are proud to be moving forward with these significant investments in clean and renewable  energy,” said President Mark Roosevelt. “The new Antioch College is starting at a time when it is abundantly clear that the way we live in America today is not sustainable. We believe we have an obligation to address these issues and have an opportunity to be a model for others.”

Upon its re-opening in 2011, Antioch College has strived to reduce the impact of its campus operations on the environment by establishing sustainable policies, programs and practices that ensure it is conducting operations in an environmentally sound manner—consistent with Antioch's vision of providing a place where new and better ways of living are discovered as a result of meaningful engagement with the world through intentional linkages between classroom and experiential education.

The solar farm follows a renovation of the College’s historic North Hall, completed in 2012. The building draws power from a solar array on its roof and is heated and cooled with geothermal energy. Students monitor their energy use with a system displayed prominently in the building’s entryway. A dormitory since the 1850s, North Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places and is now the second-oldest building in the U.S. to be awarded LEED Gold certification.  

The Antioch Farm, located adjacent to the solar farm, is a living, learning laboratory. Students participate in all aspects of the Farm, from planning to planting to eating. All food grown on the Farm, including fresh produce, eggs, pastured lamb, and culinary and tea herbs, is served in campus dining halls. While the average meal travels 1,500 miles to reach the table, food from the Antioch Farm travels just 1,500 feet. Also, as a part of their coursework, students take soil samples in Environmental Science, make maple syrup in the Global Seminar on Food, and experience chicken behavior in Psychology.

Other student-led initiatives include:

  • A campus bike program to limit the use of gas-fueled vehicles in and around campus
  • A multistream recycling program to ensure recyclable materials can actually be recycled
  • Composting of food waste for use on the campus farm
  • Food-health initiative to codify College policies regarding the purchase of local and near-local foods, as well as the elimination of products with high-fructose corn syrup
      

For more information about Antioch’s ongoing sustainability efforts, including its commitment to becoming one of the first colleges in America fueled almost exclusively by alternative energy, visit antiochcollege.org/sustainability.

About Antioch College
Antioch College is a 164 year-old startup, determined to use its reopening to build and scale a model for what the liberal arts experience can be for all students in the 21st century—not a 4-year retreat from the world, but a deeper engagement with it. Originally founded in 1850, Antioch has long been an agent of disruptive change, having been the only liberal arts college in the country with a required work component for more than 100 years. The cooperative education program reflects Antioch’s critical pedagogical insight that the separation of classroom learning from the world of work is artificial—a philosophy that has produced Nobel Laureates, Fulbright and Rhodes scholars, and notables in the arts, government, business and education. The words of Loren Pope, former education editor of the The New York Times and author of Colleges That Change Lives, speak to Antioch’s unique capability: “Antioch is in a class by itself. There is no college or university in the country that makes a more profound difference in a young person’s life, or that creates more effective adults. None of the Ivies, big or small, can match Antioch’s ability to produce outstanding thinkers and doers.” The College, located in Yellow Springs, Ohio, is a Candidate for Accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission. Learn more at  www.antiochcollege.org.

About SolarCity
SolarCity® (Nasdaq:SCTY) provides clean energy. The company has disrupted the century-­‐old energy industry by providing renewable electricity directly to homeowners, businesses and government organizations for less than they spend on utility bills. SolarCity gives customers control of their energy
costs to protect them from rising rates. The company makes solar energy easy by taking care of everything from design and permitting to monitoring and maintenance. SolarCity currently serves 15 states and signs a new customer every minute of the workday. Visit the company online at  www.solarcity.com and follow the company on  Facebook &  Twitter.

About Solar Power and Light (SP&L)
Solar Power and Light (SP&L) is an Integrated Energy Company headquartered in Ohio. Everything we do is designed to help our customers take charge of their future by cutting costs, hedging risk, and meeting sustainability goals within the area of electric energy spend. SP&L’s solution set includes: Solar Powered Energy System development/construction  (“Big Solar”); SMARTenergy Line of Products such as solar Signs, Canopies, Carports; and Integrated Energy Management Services encompassing Operations & Maintenance, Energy Efficiency Projects, Power Contract Administration and Environmental Attribute (SREC) Management. Visit SP&L online at  http://www.SPLsolar.com.