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Date Permissions Signed
Date of Award
Masters Field Project
Master of Arts (MA)
Laninga, Tamara Jean
Swisher, Joel N.
Higher education institutions equip their graduates with the skills and knowledge to become leaders and future problem-solvers. Increasingly, higher education institutions are seeking ways to lead in sustainability and ensure a legacy of progressive environmental change. One option for these institutions to enhance sustainability is to hosting community solar projects. Community Solar, defined by Northwest SEED, is a voluntary solar program providing power and/or financial benefits to, or is owned by, multiple community members. This research details two potential community solar models for higher education institutions: non-profit and for-profit. Through informal interviews with key informants, National Renewable Energy Laboratory technical assistance, undergraduate research and financial modeling the non-profit option is recommended. Using upfront payments from community solar participants, a Western Washington University Foundation partnership, federal tax incentives, value of energy produced and a university buyout, the non-profit community solar project is feasible to be hosted at Western Washington University. Being a community solar host provides higher education institutions with a means of decreasing community carbon emissions, increasing access to renewable energy, advancing institution-community relations, normalizing renewable energy for students, providing faculty and student research opportunities, and positioning these institutions as leaders in sustainability.
Western Washington University
Subjects – Names (LCNAF)
Western Washington University--Environmental aspects--Case studies
Subject – LCSH
Universities and colleges--Environmental aspects--United States; Solar energy--United States
Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Moens, Kevin, "Community Solar: A Pathway toward Leadership for Higher Education Institutions" (2018). WWU Graduate School Collection. 687.