The University of Richmond has established an ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by the year 2050 (Office for Sustainability 2015). The University’s current emissions reductions are at 18 percent from 2009 baseline levels; in order the achieve the last 82 percent of the reductions by 2050, the University must take aggressive action (R. Andrejewski, personal communication, March 1, 2018). The University owns land off campus, including the Pagebrook Property, which is around a 15-minute drive from campus and has 47 acres of flat, clear cut land that is currently unused (Love & Owens, 2014). This land would be an ideal location to begin construction of a one-megawatt University-owned solar array to begin to account for some of the University’s scope two emissions in order to work towards meeting the 2050 goal of carbon neutrality, as well as earning more points to improve the University’s current silver-level ranking in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System(STARS). This project, although a substantial economic investment for the University, would provide educational and recreational opportunities for students and community members, would eventually save the University money on energy costs, and would set the school apart as a leader in sustainability among other four year liberal arts universities. The University is already committed to one power purchase agreement and is under negotiation over a second, but at present, it remains unclear if owning or leasing the panels would be the more profitable option, so by utilizing both alternatives, the University would be able to study each type and determine which is better for large-scale adoption in the future.
Jaromin, Mary Kate. "Pagebrook Property Solar Power Initiative." Poster for Environmental Studies Senior Seminar, University of Richmond, April 21, 2018.