Eastern Mennonite University

The first solar project over 100 kilowatts in Virginia

In November 2010, Secure Solar Futures completed a solar power generation system on the campus of Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The EMU solar project was the first commercial-scale project over 100 kilowatts built in Virginia and at the time it went live, was the largest photovoltaic (PV) system of any kind in the state, including projects operated by electric utilities. The system incorporates high-efficiency solar panels made in the United States by SunPower, based in California.

Secure Solar Futures, through a company of local investors, Community Solar, LLC, purchased and owns the solar panels installed on the roof of EMU’s Hartzler Library. The company sells clean energy generated by the system to the university under a power purchase agreement.

This project is the latest in a long history of commitments to energy conservation that grows out of the university’s theological commitment to care for creation. There is a growing awareness and integration of sustainability into curriculum and daily life around the campus.

“It’s a way to leave our mark on campus while also making it more sustainable,” said Miriam Beck, co-leader of the student group Earthkeepers, which did fundraising and coordinated volunteers for the project. “We’re just here for a few years, but this project is going to be here for a long time. Students care a lot about sustainability.”


The Challenge

Help an eco-aware, faith-based university make a historic contribution to creation care

The Result

A system generating up to 104 kilowatts of power financed through the state’s first commercial solar power purchase agreement