WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Youngstown State University announced plans to install a 10,000-square-foot solar array on the roof of Moser Hall - a major investment in clean energy efficient technology on campus. At the announcement, Brown outlined how investments in clean energy technology can help revitalize American manufacturing. Brown and YSU President David C. Sweet, Ph.D. were joined by representatives from the Ohio Environmental Council, community leaders, and Carbon Vision, the Cleveland-based renewable energy developer that will coordinate the installation.
"YSU is once again proving to our state and our nation that innovation, job creation, and energy independence can happen right here in our own community. With the right federal and state investments, our cutting-edge companies and innovative public-private partnerships can strengthen Ohio's role as a national leader clean energy," Brown said. "It's time we accessed the power that can be generated right here in Ohio, and Ohio's college campuses have long led the nation in energy innovation and ingenuity.
"YSU is committed to building an environmentally-friendly, sustainable campus and to making the greater Youngstown region a center of emerging energy technologies," President Sweet said. "As an institution of higher learning, we are equally committed to helping our students better understand the world and the environment they are going to inherit."
This is the first such installation at YSU and one of the largest of its kind in Northeast Ohio. Installation is expected to take place by late summer or early fall. The announcement of this solar array is the latest step by YSU to improve energy efficiency on campus and reflects the university's commitment to sustainability. YSU recently committed to $10 million in energy efficiency upgrades with a projected return on investment in energy savings of $13 million over ten years. This project includes more efficient lighting, improved steam traps and insulation, more efficient chillers and various other efforts. The result is a campus-wide 20 percent reduction in energy consumption and savings of $500,000 per year in lighting costs alone. In a single year, YSU will save enough electricity to power 2,000 single family homes.
Brown outlined how his Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act, which could create up to 52,000 jobs in Ohio according to a report by Policy Matters Ohio, would help small to medium-sized manufacturers become more energy efficient or transition to the clean energy supply chain. The IMPACT Act would establish a $30 billion Manufacturing Revolving Loan Fund to support these manufacturers as they are expanding or establishing domestic clean energy manufacturing operations or and improving energy efficiency.
The bill would also modernize the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the federal-state partnership which provides support to small and mid-sized manufacturers. Currently, our nation's 59 MEP centers receive slightly more than $100 million in federal funds each year, with states matching the federal contribution two-to-one. Brown's bill would provide the MEP program with $1.5 billion in federal funds over five years to help manufacturers expand into to clean energy markets and adopt innovative energy efficient manufacturing technologies. Under the bill, the federal share of MEP funding would increase to 50 percent. Based on the MEP's current average cost per consultation, the additional federal funding in this bill could enable MEP to reach at least 10,000 additional U.S. manufacturers per year.
Sen. Brown has worked with Ohio's two and four-year institutions of higher learning to make Ohio a leader in research and development of renewable energy technology. In April, Brown hosted his third annual college and university presidents' conference in Washington, D.C. with nearly 50 presidents in attendance, including Dr. Sweet and his successor, current Vice President for Student Affairs Cynthia Anderson of YSU. U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu delivered the keynote speech and discussed the importance of building self-sustaining facilities on our nation's campuses for environmental and financial savings.
YSU continues to answer this call when next week it will hold the second annual Sustainable Energy Forum, an international conference featuring presentations and discussions on topics ranging from wind and solar energy to biofuels and carbon capture. More than 100 people are expected to attend, including contingents from China and Israel. The forum runs Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, June 6, 7 and 8, on the YSU campus.