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Solar farm unveiled at Bucknell University

The solar panels will be responsible for almost 10 percent of Bucknell's electricity usage.

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University held a ribbon cutting on Thursday for the university's new seven-acre solar farm.

Five thousand solar panels sitting on seven acres of land near the west athletic fields and Bucknell Golf Club were unveiled by members of Bucknell University on Thursday. The solar panels will help power the school.

"It provides about 7 percent of our electricity, so all the carbon emissions associated with that go away," said Jim Knight, the project manager for Bucknell.

Bucknell University's main goal is to utilize clean energy. These solar panels are one of the first pieces of the puzzle.

"We have had a goal since 2008; we signed onto what was called the Presidents' Climate Commitment, that is, presidents of universities. So, our goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030," said Bucknell University President John Bravman.

The project was done through a partnership with Encore Renewable Energy, a company based in Burlington, Vermont. Chad Farrell is the CEO and a 1992 graduate of Bucknell. He says the location for the solar panels had to be just right.

"We worked with the university to identify a number of different potential sites on campus and found this one to be the most attractive with respect to aesthetic consideration and with respect to interconnection. We need to be in the right location to be able to interconnect efficiently with the utility grid," Farrell explained.

Not only will these solar panels help provide electricity, but they will also be a learning tool for students.

"Decades and decades of students will be able to come out here and learn what we are doing with solar energy directly on their own campus," Bravman said.

"Just last weekend, my club, Renewable Energy Scholars, had a field trip right here to this spot, and it is fantastic to be able to come and see solar in action right where we live," said sophomore Colton Jiorle.

The university says it plans to use sheep to maintain the grass around the panels.

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