Solar-Powered Lumberjacks Celebrate Football Season with Sun Club

Sun Club at Stephen F. Austin

Many people have a bucket list – a list of things they want to do or accomplish in their lifetime. I never expected that it would be possible to fire a cannon at a college football game. Had I known, I would have put it on my list and crossed it off this weekend when I had the unique opportunity to fire a 1952 military-grade cannon, nicknamed Ole Cotton, at a Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) Lumberjacks football game. This distinct honor was given to me in recognition of the dedication of the solar donation to the university by the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club®.

Earlier in the day, we officially flipped the switch on SFA’s first solar array, a 12.75-kW installation on the roof of the new Conservation Education Center at the SFA Gardens on campus – that’s enough solar to produce as much as 80 percent of the new building’s electricity needs for the next 25-30 years!

The Center was established to promote, develop and integrate year-round environmental education programs for students and visitors. Because of this focus on sustainability and education, it was a perfect fit for a solar donation from the Sun Club. Thanks to the web-based solar monitor, the faculty and students can also view real-time energy production from each panel and compare when the array is most efficient throughout the year.

The day at the Gardens was called Solar Saturday. Following the dedication ceremony, fifth-grade students from a local school performed a fun play about solar energy for about 50 people in attendance. Then all kids were encouraged to stop at six different stations to learn about solar energy. Those completing at least three stations earned a Solar Champion button.

The 51 panels that make up the array were paid for by a $30,000 donation to the university. The solar panels will serve as a valuable education tool for the university and the thousands of visitors who come to the SFA Gardens each year for their big plant sale fundraiser or to hike or bike on the miles of paths throughout the piney woods acreage maintained by the institution.

To learn more about the Sun Club and how YOU can help us donate more solar to great non-profits like SFA, please visit

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