Skip To Main Content
Principia College Logo
Principia College Shines Bright with Solar Farm Sustainability Project


The summer season is upon us which means longer days, buzzing bees, and sun-kissed blooms. It’s also time for Principia College’s long-awaited solar farm and pollinator habitat to get underway. Faculty, staff, students, and trustees gathered on April 11, 2024 to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking, eagerly anticipating the completion date of fall 2025. 

The six-acre area of ground-mounted solar panels (array) will feed 1.65 megawatts directly into Principia College’s grid. The array will allow the College to produce renewable electricity locally—saving Principia money directly while reducing financial uncertainty around electricity price fluctuations. The array is expected to meet 28 percent of annual electricity needs for the Elsah campus. 

During the preparation process, trees were removed from the future solar farm site along Beltrees Road, which included some non-native species. “The proceeds from the sale of these trees will be used to purchase new, native trees that will be replanted this fall,” says Lee Eubank (C'97), Director of Facilities. “By removing the non-native trees and underplanting with native trees and shrubs, the overall integrity of the ecosystem will be enhanced.”

The design of the array was carefully planned so the College could continue to use the land as habitat for local, and often endangered, pollinator insects. The College also intends to incorporate data gathered from the array into classes. At the groundbreaking, sophomore and sustainability club representative, Ronja Bakowsky, stated, “All we need to create a sustainable Principia is already here. It’s our community.”  

Watch video highlights from the groundbreaking ceremony. Learn more about the Solar Farm through the College’s press release, listen to the KMOX interview with Dr. Nick Johnson (C'04), and watch the KMOV Channel 4 news story