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CCU’s solar team working on energy initiatives

August 15, 2016

Coastal Carolina University was one of 25 members of the Federal Administration’s National Community Solar Partnership mentioned in a White House press release detailing President Barack Obama’s new clean energy initiative.

CCU’s Solar Ambassador Team won a grant from RE-Volv, a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower individuals and communities to collectively invest in renewable energy through crowd funding. The grant funds were used in part to send student and leader of the CCU Solar Ambassador Team Derek Bussey to the Solar Ambassador Leadership Summit in San Francisco, Calif. Bussey, a senior marine science major with a minor in environmental science from North Augusta, S.C., joined six other Solar Ambassador leaders from various universities around the country at the summit, where they studied how RE-Volv operates as a nonprofit organization and trained in solar policy and financing.

CCU and 24 other members of RE-Volv will be announcing new commitments to deploy nearly 145 megawatts of community solar, including projects to scale up solar for low- and moderate- income households. One megawatt is equivalent to 1 million watts and can power about 650 homes.

The CCU Solar Ambassador team is beginning work with New Directions, a homeless shelter in Horry County, in cooperation with Santee Cooper, to provide lower cost, cleaner solar energy.

“Through this grant we will be able to reduce the energy bill of New Directions homeless shelter through RE-Volv’s lease-to-own process, where RE-Volv will cover the upfront cost to install a solar panel system in Myrtle Beach that will cover their power needs,” said Bussey. “Our Solar Ambassador project will officially start at the beginning of this fall semester and is scheduled to be finished in May 2017.”

The Solar Ambassador team at CCU consists of students Maria Karahalios of Asbury, N.J., Cassandra Ratliff of Plymouth, Mich., Catherine Sweeney of Richmond, Va., Kathryn Vandy of Myrtle Beach, Kelly Sheldon of Murrells Inlet and Maryland Lewis of Longs.

The team hopes to help people in need and show that cleaner energy is a possibility for all through upcoming campus and community information events.

Professor Pamela Martin is the faculty adviser for the group. For more information, contact Martin at or Bussey at