According to a proposal by Sonali Deshpande ‘21 and Jacob Hunter ‘21 to set up a Photovoltaic Solar Facility on the Vassar Golf Course, Vassar must take drastic and immediate action to reduce carbon emissions in order to meet the college’s 2030 carbon neutrality goal and eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels. Vassar has already invested in a solar array on the roof of the Vassar Barns. Considering that solar is “the most promising renewable energy industry,” further investment in renewable energy like solar is a financially feasible option for the college.
Replacing the Vassar Golf Course with the proposed solar array will generate over 50% of the electricity the college uses annually. It will save over $220,000 every year and reduce carbon emissions by 10%. Savings from this solar project will go towards other energy efficiency and carbon reduction projects on campus that are desperately needed.
Moreover, the environmental impact of maintaining the golf course through watering, fertilizer, pesticides, and mowing is not worth the cost and minimal benefit to Vassar. For those that want to play golf, there are other local golf courses in Poughkeepsie.
Meeting the 2030 carbon neutrality goal is not only an established priority, but it is also Vassar’s responsibility to stop burning fossil fuels and take the consequences of climate change seriously for the sustainability of the institution. Approving a solar array to replace the Golf Course as soon as possible is an opportunity for Vassar to reduce the destructive impact of fossil fuel emissions as well as demonstrate to institutions of higher education that campus carbon neutrality is achievable.
I support Deshpande and Hunter’s proposal and call on Vassar to approve a solar array on the Golf Course as soon as possible.