A Pacific Power Blue Sky renewable energy grant drew multigenerational support from Whitman students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends for a project to install solar panels on the roof of Bratton Tennis Center.
The $165,000 project, completed in September, reduces both the carbon footprint of the college and energy costs, and provides a way for students to study solar energy production through a solar monitoring station installed in the Hall of Science atrium and a Web site.
Whitman has a long history of environmental responsibility, and this project attracted the interest and support of alumni spanning six decades: The Class of 1999 selected it as its 10th Reunion Fund project, and Rachel Johnson Rosenberg ’99 made her biggest commitment ever to the college to help fund the solar panels. Overseer Gordon Keane ’68 and Kathy Britt Keane ’67 also made a significant contribution, as did Overseer Lois Dambacher Dusenbery and Earl Dusenbery ’40.
Current students played an instrumental role in heating up interest and funding for the solar panels. The Campus Climate Challenge/Alternative Energy Fund Team, a student group dedicated to promoting renewable energy resources on campus, raised more than $23,000 from family and friends. Alumni and friends of the college contributed $88,000, the Class of 1999 added another $25,530 and Pacific Power’s grant was $51,570.
The 21-kilowatt photovoltaic solar panels are projected to save Whitman about $1,600 annually on energy and make the college eligible for tax incentives through the state Investment Cost Recovery Program.