Solar power gets mobile on campus

Author: Sara Brown


A solar powered golf cart is the latest development in sustainable transportation options on campus. The Office of Sustainability worked with Transportation Services to purchase and install a 200-Watt SolarDrive S2E canopy top to one of their carts. It is currently being used for regular departmental errands on campus as well as big events, such as football games and commencement. “We are always interested in looking for ways to support sustainability,” said Marty Ogren, Associate Director of Warehouse, Delivery and Transportation Services.

The solar canopy top lengthens the battery life, thereby extending the range the cart can be driven. The cart does not need to be plugged in as long as the solar energy absorbed exceeds the electricity demand from driving. While an occasional plug-in may be needed, the solar charging system significantly reduces overall consumption of grid electricity and furthers our clean energy strategy.

A typical electric golf cart powered by SolarDrive S2E will avoid 400 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year—the equivalent of planting 20 trees. “Purdue reported that they did not have to plug their cart in the two months it has been in use,” said Jeremy Quirk, U.S. representative for SolarDrive.

The canopy top is also detachable and transferable. It will be displayed at educational events and demonstrations throughout the year. “At SolarDrive, we believe that one of the greatest benefits of the solar canopy top is the educational value,” said Quirk. “When Notre Dame students see the golf cart on campus, it will spur new ideas.”