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The Barn Is Now Powered by the SunRibbon Cutting Celebrates Vassar’s Latest Solar Initiative

Five brightly colored ribbons cascaded to the ground as the college officially celebrated the deployment of 120 solar panels on the roof of the offices of Vassar College Environmental Engagement Cooperative. Marianne Begemann, Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources, cut the ribbons in a brief ceremony at The Barn on the grounds of the Farm and Ecological Preserve Sept. 30 during Families Weekend festivities.

Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources Marianne Begemann cuts the ribbons at The Barn.

The array of 290-watt panels provides electricity to The Barn and other facilities on the Ecological Preserve. Begemann noted that the project is part of the college’s campus-wide plan to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2030. The panels will produce about 33,000 kilowatt hours per year, saving 24 metric tons of carbon dioxide that would be generated by fossil fuels.

The use of solar power at The Barn is expected to save the college about $12,000 a year in utility costs. The Board of Trustees approved the project in 2016 after a student group called The Vassar Solar Initiative first proposed it the year before.

The 120 solar panels on the roof of The Barn will generate more than 33,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in the next 12 months.

Jennifer Rubbo, manager of the Environmental Cooperative, said it was fitting that an organization that promotes awareness about climate change and related issues was using solar power. “The Cooperative is a primary resource on campus for conservation work,” Rubbo said, “so it’s only fitting that we’re observing responsible environmental practices.”

Participants of the 5K Fun Run race past The Barn