Lawrence’s utility bill and carbon footprint both will  get a little smaller thanks to the recent installation of a 20-kilowatt solar panel on the roof of Hiett Hall. Through the efforts of Green Roots to secure funding for the project, approximately $65,000 of the solar panel array’s $77,000 cost was covered by grants and rebates from WE Energies, Wisconsin Focus on Energy and Solar Innovations Inc.

Solar panel on Hiett Hall

The estimated payback on the project’s initial investment is approximately six years with an expected useful life span of the panels of 30-40 years.

The Hiett Hall installation is the second solar panel array on campus. Lawrence first tapped the sun’s rays in 2010 with a 2.92-kilowatt solar unit on the roof of Youngchild Hall. That panel, which was installed primarily as an educational tool for environmental studies courses, already has generated more than 4,700 kilowatt hours of electricity while reducing the college’s carbon dioxide production by nearly five tons.