Solar panels set up on the roof of the men’s dormitory No. 3 on the campus of  Montemorelos University, in Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. [Photo: Montemorelos University]

October 5, 2023 | Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico | Laura Marrero and Inter-American Division News

Montemorelos University, a Seventh-day Adventist Institution overseen by the Inter-American Division, recently began installing solar panels on several on-campus buildings in order to be a more sustainable and ecological friendly institution.

The initiative is part of the university’s Green Campus master development plan which embraces the institution’s initiatives and strategies to find better planet-friendly alternatives to improve quality of life consistent with the biblical principles of stewardship, said César Fuentes, Montemorelos University architect overseeing the project.

So far, 869 solar panels have been installed.

The library also had solar panels installed earlier in May. [Photo: Montemorelos University]

“This initiative not only represents a technological advance and a firm commitment to clean energy and the reduction of the carbon footprint, but also reflects the conviction of the importance of renewable energy and sustainability in the training of future leaders,” explained Fuentes.

The transition toward solar energy in an academic institution has many benefits, he said.

“Besides contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases, solar energy avoids dependence on finite and non-renewable resources, and reminds students of the importance of renewable and sustainable energy in a world that demands more and more,” said Fuentes.

The student vice chancellor building had solar panels recently installed. [Photo: Montemorelos University]

The implementation of solar panels has not generated additional costs for the institution, according to Fuentes. “Montemorelos University has retained the services of a company that finances the solar panel system in the long term,” he said. “During the first 13 years the university will pay its normal energy consumption but in year 14 the panels become property of the university and all energy savings are allocated to its needs.”

Currently, Montemorelos University consumes 1,500 kW and the implementation of solar panels will allow for a savings of 500 kW.

In addition to the implementation of solar energy, other areas that are part of the project are reforestation, waste management and gray, black and rainwater management. These efforts are supported by Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, which provides advice based on its experience in sustainability.

A technician sets up the recent installation of inverters. [Photo: Montemorelos University]

“We hope that over the next few years, in accordance with trends in the development of technology, subsequent stages can be carried out until reaching 100 percent consumption of generated clean energy as well as enough to accumulate in storage systems such as batteries or others to get closer to self-sustainability,” said Joel Sebastian, vice president of finances at Montemorelso University.

The university is on the right track, said Dr. Ismael Castillo, president of Montemorelos University. “We have a very special commitment to God in relation to our stewardship with the earth, with nature,” he said. “We have taken a while to fulfill this great commitment and nature is God’s and we have to honor the God of nature.”

Montemorelos University will continue to adopt ecological and sustainable practices, and prepare students to face the environmental challenges of the 21st century, said Fuentes.

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