Farm the Sun With Us III

Energizing Our Future with the Power of the Sun

Checking out the electrical panel at Merlis Belsher Place

Michelle Johnson, Connor Jorgensen, Austin Dillabaugh, Dallas Baker, Leah Richard, Teagan Lubiniecki, and Brooke Switzer

Energizing Our Future with the Power of the Sun

“Be What the World Needs” is the University of Saskatchewan’s slogan, in order to reflect this statement we must do more as part of the University to hold high standards and set an example for other universities to follow. Currently, the world needs to reduce their carbon footprint and implementing renewable energies can help us achieve that. With a campus of 20,000 students located in the centre of Saskatoon, many people use the University’s facilities, consuming large amounts of energy from traditional non-renewable energy sources. By implementing solar panels on campus, we will reduce the amount of non-renewable energy consumed on campus, and the overall emissions. To offset the amount of power consumed on campus, our group is trying to install a large-scale solar farm on campus.

Our focus is to implement solar panels on the roof of the Merlis Belsher Arena. The arena is a new structure on campus, not only used by the students but the community. The building is structurally fit to hold solar panels, and with a large energy bill they would also like to reduce the amount of non-renewable energy they consume. As a group we have met with management at Merlis Belsher, and they are on board with the project. We have created a cost estimate of a solar installation, which includes the cost of engineering plans, solar panels, electrical plans and tie-in-costs. Our group is currently looking for potential donors and funding for the project, we hope to work closely with the USSU to implement this project and are looking for other partners for additional support.

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  1. It’s awesome to see that farm the sun is still advocating for solar on campus. From a sustainability perspective, everyone wins if we get a large array on this building, but who would benefit most from this installation in terms of longterm cost savings? Does most of the pushback still have to do with the universities arrangement with Sask power? It’s just too bad that the student union has to be the one to foot the bill to get anything like this done on campus. Is there a way for this project be made more attractive to the powers that be?

  2. Hey Jay,

    Our project was actually right at the point where we were going to start advocating to the powers that be. This was our plan till the university environment changed due to covid-19. For this particular project the energy usage would have directly benefited Merlis Belsher Place. We chose this building because it is separated from the university’s deal with saskpower.

    Thank you so much for your interest! It’s greatly appreciated!

    1. Nice to see this continuing to draw interest. Your team has done a great job pushing this forward. Following from Jay’s comment, have there been any discussions or initiatives within USSU to help leverage their resources (and the strength in numbers within the student body) to potentially bring $ to the table as a partnership for projects like this?

  3. It’s wonderful to see this project continuing to evolve!
    I’m impressed with the scope of this team’s work. By doing the work of putting together a well-researched cost estimate, you make it difficult for the university to say “they’re looking into it.”
    I would urge you to forward a copy of your report, along with a memo outlining your group’s expectations, to the President’s Advisory Circle on Sustainability, which has included Operations as a key pillar of its mandate. You can find more info about this advisory circle here:

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