Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending an Eco-Reps seminar here on Rider’s campus. Going into this discussion I was anything but enthused. I considered myself someone who appreciates the luxuries of life: fast cars, iPhones/iPads and HD TVs — not the simple things. After hearing this presentation I began to wonder, what if I could have the best of both worlds? The solution was easy: solar energy.
Solar energy is a smart investment. In most cases, installing a solar energy system for a medium to large residential home initially costs the homeowner approximately as much as a new car. While this sounds expensive, the return on this investment is incredible. Here at Rider, we have installed 2,640 solar panels, which collectively are capable of powering 92 residential homes.
According to the United States Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. household used 11,496 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2010, which in the tri-state area would have cost roughly $2,200 per domicile. From an economic standpoint Rider’s investment will pay large dividends over the course of the next 25 years, bringing environmentally-friendly resources to Rider and surrounding communities.
In the state of New Jersey, solar energy also carries with it the opportunity to receive and trade SRECs, Solar Renewable Energy Certificates. These certificates are issued when producers of solar energy create more than they consume. Groups such as the Eco-Reps and the University’s Office of Sustainability strive to inform the community of such benefits. The ones found on our campus are integral parts of a network of local and national organizations grounded in the hopes of creating a more environmentally-friendly world.
At this point, I am willing to assume that most of us don’t really care how we charge our cell phones or what powers the TV when we want to watch our favorite shows as long as those luxuries are available. Solar energy is a simple compromise campuses such as Rider are able to make. We can complete the tasks we want to take on while looking out for the environment that makes life and its luxuries possible. I challenge each and every one of you to further your knowledge about solar energy and the other eco-friendly opportunities available here at Rider by visiting the Rider web page on sustainability at http://www.rider.edu/about-rider/sustainability-rider or by talking with a campus Eco-Rep.