University Opens Solar Charging Stations

- EMMITSBURG, Md. - Mount Saint Mary's University has already taken steps to go green by having one of the largest solar farms on a college campus. Now they're trying to take going green to the next level through new high-tech solar charging stations for students to recharge their electronics.

Wednesday was a rainy day at the Mount, but 42 percent of the energy coming from orange outlets marked "solar" came was from the sun.

The Mount already has a solar farm covering more than 100 acres on campus. Consellation Energy gave a $50,000 grant to build the solar charging station.

"The station is set up out front. It's got solar panels that basically take the energy from the sun and converts it into electricity," said Rosie Bolen, assistant professor of biology at the Mount.

"When we talked to Consellation Energy, they worked with us on giving us a special grant so that we could have an educational unit here to explain solar energy, how it works, and also provide a fun area for students to charge up their cell phones and their computers," said Thomas Powell, president of the Mount.

The station can generate to 1.6 kilowatt hours of energy, which can power up to 300 cell phones or 50 laptops.

"It's a really cool idea. When I first saw that they were building it, I was actually really surprised because I thought, 'Wow, this is something that everyone can see.' They can see that they're trying to make a difference. The school itself is trying to make a difference, and it's something that sets the school apart from other schools," said Nicole Blandon, a student at the Mount.

Students already enjoy charging up at the indoor or outdoor solar stations, knowing they're leaving less of a carbon footprint behind.

"The earth is dying, and we need to do something, and so the fact that we're actually taking action and not just talking about it but doing something to try and save our earth because it's our home is just a really good thing," said
Kendra Hughes, a student at the Mount.

The Mount also uses geothermal heating in three buildings, the Bicentennial Hall, the Delaplaine Fine Arts Center, and the Grotto Visitor Center.

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