Explore solar panels on Fetzer Hall for UNC’s future

The Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee is developing a plan to include solar panels in the renovation of the roof of Fetzer Hall. This proposal is a step in the right direction and will raise the reputation of the University as an innovator in the field of renewable energy.

Solar panels on the roof of Fetzer aren’t a done deal, nor are they a cheap investment. However, it’s cheaper to install solar panels when making major roof renovations then at other times.

The committee members who are developing this plan and those who approved the recent referendum that will help fund this potential renovation — and other sustainable measures like it — will not see the financial return in their time here.

But this fact should not discourage enthusiasm for the proposal. Simply exploring solar panels will broaden UNC’s energy options.

Investing in solar technology, though, is more costly for nonprofit organizations. The federal government provides tax credits for private businesses that invest in solar technology, but nonprofit, tax-exempt institutions cannot receive tax breaks since they do not pay taxes.

Recognizing the financial burden on the University, Cogenra, the company that the committee would purchase the solar panels from, has offered a discount to the University.

The committee is pursuing the interests of the students and the University as a whole in its consideration of solar panels for Fetzer.

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