STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -- The solar panels on UW-Stevens Point campus help save money by using energy from the sun, which is technically free. School leaders said say the panels on one building on campus have never been hooked up because they can't afford it.
Some students on UWSP campus said they think it's important to find ways to go green.
"You do see so many things going on that use energy so this is a way that we can conserve it and use other ways," said UWSP freshman Samantha Kucan.
Solar panels on top of the newest addition on campus -- The Suites @ 201 -- help heat water for the dorms. Knutzen Hall has some just like it. School leaders said all those panels work fine, but some on campus don't.
"We do have some solar panels that are sitting on the top of the Health Enhancement Center," said UWSP sustainability coordinator Shelly Janowsky. "Those panels have never been functional."
School leaders said say they acquired additional panels in an agreement when a company went out of business. In order to protect the panels for future use, they put them on top of the HEC.
"We made the decision at the time to just put those on the top of the HEC building on the roof until we had time later to do something with them," said Janowsky.
Years later, campus leaders say those panels are out of date. They say it could cost more than $200,000 to install upgraded equipment -- a price tag they can't afford. With tighter budgets, campus leaders said they're not sure when that could happen. But they still hope to keep UWSP's campus as green as possible.
"We are looking at different types of renewable energy and will continue to do that and solar might be the answer," said Janowsky.
"I think it is taken as a back burner but I think it should be almost one of the top things on the list because it does help out so much with the environment," said Kucan.
School officials said 16% of the energy used on campus is considered "green." They said if they ever get the opportunity to fix the HEC's solar panels, the plumbing is already in place to heat the swimming pool inside.