The Solar Panels on the science center roof are touted by the Williams sustainability website as part of our source of energy at the college. If you follow the link and compare these panels to other institutions in the regions, you see they are actually pitiful (keeping mind the relative size of the other institutions). I know homeowners who have installed 5kw displays, which gives them an annual net electricity bill of $0. Should we be ashamed of boasting of such a small array?

Like many possible improvements to the college, the time of payback is long (10-20 years) and variable based on energy rates. You may correctly argue that it makes little sense for the college to increase its solar area. But at the end of this month Williams will announce an institutional commitment to reduce our carbon emissions (including that from electricity generated off-site), and solar panels will be part of the solution. I don’t know how much of the solution for Williams will be solar. But I do know that traditional arguments against solar, such as saying it doesn’t advance the interests of the college, will no longer be valid.

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