Project underway at Luther College will increase energy sustainability

May 7, 2020

The director of Luther College's Center for Sustainable Communities, Jim Martin-Schramm, will present "Solar to Storage" during the Winneshiek Energy District's May Online Lunch from 12-1 p.m. Tuesday, May 19. During the online event, Martin-Schramm will discuss a new project happening at Luther that includes a new solar array and an associated battery storage solution.

This initiative will more than double the amount of solar energy that serves the campus. It will also provide an energy storage solution that will enable Luther to reduce peak demand, which is the most expensive electricity to purchase.

"We are very excited about this new solar array as it is projected to produce about 10% of Luther's annual electricity consumption," said Martin-Schramm. "It will help the college reduce campus operating costs while also reducing Luther's carbon footprint."

Perry Novak Electric is installing the new solar photovoltaic (PV) facility on the north edge of campus. This facility is owned by a local firm, Nova Properties, LLC and it will include a battery storage system. This project is fully funded by the investor; Luther College is leasing the land and will purchase the power from this facility over the next ten years.

Ranked nationally in the top 10 colleges for campus sustainability, Luther has made serious commitments to energy efficiency and renewable energy with a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70% and becoming carbon neutral by year 2030. Of course, the institution cannot tackle this feat alone.

"Luther is proud to partner with a second local investor on this project. This public-private partnership to develop more renewable energy will recycle energy dollars in the local economy and is consistent with the mission of the Winneshiek Energy District and Luther College," said Martin-Schramm.     

This multi-million-dollar initiative is expected to be up and operational within the next six months.

To learn more about this project and the logic behind storing solar power for future use visit to register for the webinar by Monday, May 18.

Jim Martin-Schramm is the director of the Center for Sustainable Communities and Professor of Religion. He provides oversight to all areas of sustainability at Luther as well as working to expand the center's outreach to the community and region. He has served on the boards of the Iowa Wind Energy Association and Iowa Interfaith Power & Light. He continues to serve on the board of the Winneshiek Energy District. He also serves as Secretary of Luther College Wind Energy Project, LLC. Most of his research has focused on ethics and public policy. He holds a doctorate in Christian Ethics from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

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