Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.01
Liaison Rebecca Walker
Submission Date April 13, 2022

STARS v2.2

Southern Oregon University
IN-48: Innovation B

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Rebecca Walker
Sustainability Manager
Facilities, Management, Sustainability and Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Student Solar Power Purchase Agreement

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

Students at Southern Oregon University have worked to develop an innovative new approach to funding solar. Inspired by the power purchase agreement (PPA) model, the SOU student government has established a similar agreement with the university itself to fund new solar panels on campus. The "Solar PPA" both increases the amount of renewable energy used on campus and provides revenue that is allocated towards the development of new sustainability-related projects through reinvestment in the university Green Fund. Through this play on a PPA, students have spent funds from the student Green Fund to install solar panels on a university building. The university agrees to pay the students annually based on the kilowatt-hours of energy produced by the solar array. The student government and the university drafted and signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the details of the partnership.

In the first iteration of this model, SOU students invested $100,000 to install a 55.65 kW solar array on the university library. The array went live in January 2019. In July 2019, university staff will record the total electricity generated by the panels to date and transfer funds to the student Green Fund based on the agreed-upon rate. This continues each year and helps to create revenue for the student Green Fund to then be reinvested in sustainability projects across campus.

In September 2021, another PPA was agreed and installed on The Farm storage building. A proportion of this was funded by Oregon Department of Energy Grant and a proportion by the Student Green Fund. The percentage funded by the student greenfund will be calculated each year and based on the kilowatt-hours of energy produced, will be transferred to the Student Green Fund.

This is a novel approach to funding renewable energy on campus that we have not found replicated anywhere else. This model comes with many great advantages including the ability to leverage available student funds to advance renewable energy on campus, and for the student government to receive a direct return on their investment, year after year. Additionally, this model provides colleges and universities in states that do not support traditional PPA's to implement the same basic concept. Since the student government is technically part of the university, this form of a power purchase agreement is not subject to the limitations faced in some states. This model is simply an intra-institution agreement between the student government and the administration.

Southern Oregon University has taken great care to make this model as transferable as possible for campuses throughout the country and has shared this approach at conferences and through the AASHE webinar series.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The initial Student Power Purchase Agreement was reported in the March 2019 STARS submission in the innovation category. Since then, the first PPA continues and a second Student Power Purchase Agreement has been added.

http://www.aashe.org/calendar/student-power/

https://news.sou.edu/2021/09/solar-arrays-pop-up-at-the-farm-at-sou/

https://news.sou.edu/2018/09/outlook-sunny-sou-solar/

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.