REI receives nine solar panels, plans to use immediately

Chelsey Fisher

Over the summer, the university had nine Sanyo solar panels donated to the Renewable Energy Initiative.

REI allowed graduate student Steve Sciara in the technology department to use their mock roof at the Solar Lab in order to complete his graduate thesis. After he was done, Sanyo donated the panels to him.

REI chairperson Doug Willson said they are working with another graduate student, Linda Toth, who came forward with an idea on how to use them.

“She is now working with an REI committee member on a more formal proposal to use them as part of a bicycle shelter on campus; however, this is only in the idea stage,” Willson said.

If, for some reason, this proposal falls through, Willson said they would run a contest in the spring to see what ideas students could come up with on how to use them.

Josh Brooks, who works with REI public relations, said the donation of panels would only impact Appalachian positively.

“The mission of the good folks at the Renewable Energy Initiative is to lessen the environmental impact we have on our campus by utilizing renewable energies such as solar power to run the university,” Brooks said.

Brooks said the REI will work toward the mission of improving the campus and also will further the use of solar technology.

“This understanding will pave the way for better efficiencies and greater output.” Brooks said. “It is small donations like these solar panels that create the big change we need in the long run.”

Willson agreed they would be beneficial.

“These panels are of great benefit to the students who have the opportunity to get a renewable energy system up and running,” Willson said. “There is also benefit in showcasing creative uses of renewable energy; solar paneled bike shelters would get people thinking.”

Willson said he hoped REI would have the request for proposals go out before the end of the semester, bringing the university that much closer to a “big” energy savor.

Story: ANDREW CLAUSEN, Senior Sports Reporter