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Children's Center Goes Solar

Solar trees will provide 35 percent of the power needed by the Children's Center.
The Children's Center solar trees will produce 35 percent of the power needed.
The Children's Center solar trees will produce 35 percent of the power needed.

A new kind of tree has been planted in the SDSU Children’s Center parking lot, one that will save money and preserve the environment—a solar tree.

Solar trees are pole-mounted solar panels that not only produce a large amount of environmentally friendly energy, but also shelter vehicles from the rain or sun. Three such solar trees in the SDSU Children's Center parking lot were activated last Friday.

The addition of the solar trees is a component of SDSU Associated Students Green Love Sustainability Advisory Board project, the campus-wide initiative to make SDSU more eco-conscious.

"The Associated Students commitment toward sustainability programs and projects is stronger than ever,” said Grant Mack, the AS president. “Projects such as the solar trees at the Children's Center are another step we have taken to reach our long-term sustainability goals."

The solar trees will produce approximately 52,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, supplying 35 percent of the electricity required by the Children’s Center. The system will save the university about $8,000 per year, and prevent over 70,000 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

Solar at SDSU

Sustainability is not a new concept for SDSU. 

In 2008, A.S. installed a solar panel system at SDSU’s Mission Bay Aquatic Center and the Aztec Aquaplex. The MBAC solar panels will produce 100 percent of the facility’s electrical consumption for the next 25 years. The Aquaplex panels offset about 65 percent of that facility’s energy use.  

Other green initiatives

AS has implemented several green programs this fall to promote environmental responsibility among students. The initiatives include such programs as:

AS also partnered with ZipCar, the world’s largest car-sharing service, to help students, faculty and staff save money on transportation and reduce their carbon footprint.

“Our Green Love projects and programs bring awareness and education about sustainability,” said Tara Kelly, the AS sustainability commissioner. “I see more and more students using reusable water containers and declining a plastic bag at the market. Students are making these conscious decisions because they have been educated about their actions.”

Future initiatives

The future of sustainability on SDSU’s campus is fueled by ambitious projects that will provide ways to reduce the university’s environmental impact. AS has big ideas for furthering sustainability efforts such as developing a public recycling center for less common recyclables and establishing an SDSU center for sustainability and energy conservation.

For more information on AS Green Love project, visit the program website at as.sdsu.edu/greenlove.

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