The proposed project is to be built on land near Bucknell Golf Club driving range. Source: Bucknell University 


Lewisburg, Pa. — As part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability, Bucknell University is exploring the installation of a 2.1 peak megawatt (MWp) solar project on approximately eight acres of University-owned land near the top of the Bucknell Golf Club’s driving range, along Abbey Lane.

Following a competitive bidding process and 18 months of analysis, the University has chosen to partner with Encore Renewable Energy of Burlington, Vt., to develop, design, install and maintain the solar array. 

“Bucknell is actively seeking opportunities to increase its use of renewable energy and reduce its dependency on carbon-producing sources,” said Dave Surgala, Bucknell’s vice president for finance and administration. “Over the past 18 months, the University has explored the installation of solar panels as a source of sustainable energy as well as an opportunity for student education and research in this rapidly expanding field.”

Partnering with the neighborhood community

In addition to prime sun exposure, the proposed driving range location for the array offers the proximity to campus and electrical infrastructure required for the solar panels.

The project will consist of south-facing panels tilted at 25 to 30 degrees, with a maximum height of nine feet. The eight acre array of panels will be surrounded with an agricultural fence and vegetative plantings to ensure safety and aesthetic appeal. Encore and Bucknell will work with the neighboring community over the coming months to design an attractive screening plan that will minimize visual impacts to Abbey Lane and neighboring homes.

Over the coming months, Encore and its contractors will perform extensive environmental surveys and consult with Bucknell professors to ensure the project’s compatibility with natural resources in the area of Abbey Lane. 

“The University is deeply committed to Lewisburg and the regional community, and eager to partner with neighbors to ensure a constructive and open process,” Surgala said.

A mutually beneficial project

The benefits of the solar project include advancing Bucknell’s sustainability goals and enhancing opportunities for teaching and research in solar engineering and energy modeling. In addition, the project will generate property tax revenues to East Buffalo Township; provide Bucknell with price certainty on energy rates for the next several decades; and strengthen the region’s commitment to the production and use of renewable energy.

Encore will submit a land development plan for the site to the East Buffalo Township zoning office this month. The township planning commission will review the plans and make a recommendation during a meeting this month.