Here Comes the Sun

University Collaborating with First Solar and Millstream Career Center on Parent Fund Project

Starting this fall, the University of Findlay will be offering students and the rest of the campus community additional ways to recharge, literally and figuratively. Thanks to substantial Parent Fund donations, UF is partnering with First Solar, one of the largest solar manufacturers in the world, and students at Millstream Career Center, a vocational institution in Findlay, to provide solar-powered cell phone charging stations.

As of this publication’s printing deadline, details were still being finalized, but what will result will be new picnic tables that will feature solar-powered energy at comfortable campus locations to relax and study. Organizers are hoping the first charging station with solar roofs will be completed by Homecoming and Family Weekend, which will begin Sept. 27.

First Solar will be donating the panels and some electrical equipment. The company will also train Millstream students to build the charging stations.

Sustainability is, of course, a corporate hallmark of First Solar, which is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, and includes manufacturing centers in Perrysburg, Ohio; Malaysia; and Vietnam. Along with producing cost-effective and innovative energy-generating green products, the company’s website touts that its manufacturing process “leads the way with the lowest carbon footprint, lowest water usage, and fastest energy payback of any PV (photovoltaic) technology.”

Lee Kramer, First Solar’s environmental, health and safety vice president, said the company “is excited to partner with the University of Findlay and Millstream Career Center on this endeavor. Promoting solar education and solar advocacy throughout Northwest Ohio and beyond will push First Solar toward its vision of leading the world’s sustainable energy future.”

According to Karen George, director of corporate engagement and individual giving at the University, the Parent Fund in recent years has embraced sustainability-focused projects that have resulted in great environmental and cost benefits. Along with the charging stations, this year’s Fund will also pay for additional bicycle racks, she said.