Baylor campus should operate with solar energy

By Joe Pratt | LTVN Reporter/Anchor

As the world steers itself toward renewable forms of energy, Baylor should follow by implementing solar power into its buildings. Baylor has already made a pledge to convert to sustainable energy, but this doesn’t include solar energy.

To supply power to the entire United States, it would only take up 10 million acres of land, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. That means only 0.4% of America’s land will be taken up by solar grids, still leaving plenty of land for other endeavors.

Filling the rooftops with solar panels will provide Baylor with an abundance of energy, considering there are 230 sunny days per year in Waco.

While some may be concerned that this solar initiative may alter expenses and tuition, prices for solar panels have been dropping. The Motley Fool noted that costs of solar panels have fallen 99% since 1997, and they’re cheaper than ordinary fossil fuels.

Most Baylor students would agree with a plan to release less harmful emissions into the atmosphere by adopting solar energy for electricity. Fuel, or other sources, are required to burn — but not the sun, which would power our school to a more efficient future. The sun gives off far more energy than we will ever need, so our surplus of energy can be stored in batteries that will be fed back into the electric grid, making the cost of solar decrease even more.

In February, classes were canceled for a week due to “the freeze,” in which temperatures plummeted as Texas experienced its most severe snowstorm in 43 years. Many Waco residents lost electricity during this time. While Gov. Greg Abbott originally blamed the power outages on faulty solar panels and frozen wind turbines, it was soon discovered that more natural gas and coal went offline than renewables did. Texas’ entire electric pipeline could not handle the dropping temperatures, and the state’s energy practices were simply not equipped to battle this kind of weather. However, contracting more robust solar panels could help combat power loss during crises that may occur.

When considering uses of energy in our world — and weighing what works best or is the most cost-effective — the health of our planet should always be a top priority. In a rapidly-changing world, and with a diminishing environment, it is time for Baylor to lead by example and operate with the power of solar.