Stag Solar Strives to Bring Sustainable Vehicles to Campus

Stag Solar Strives to Bring Sustainable Vehicles to Campus

From Left to Right: Cody Sheridan, Brandon Pearce, Syed Shahzaib Hussain, and lecturer Adrian Van der Kroef, MS.

Management of Technology students’ capstone explores fleet vehicle sustainability, management and energy independence at Fairfield University.

The School of Engineering management of technology graduate students Brandon Pearce, Syed Shahzaib Hussain, and Cody Sheridan are leading the charge to bring vehicle sustainability to campus.

According to the students’ proposal, Fairfield University is in “a unique position to leverage new aggressive state, regional and federal incentives that specifically target light and heavy-duty commercial fleets.” Currently, the state of Connecticut reimburses installation costs of charging stations and offers partial coverage for electrical vehicle supply equipment. 

As part of their capstone project, the students researched the possibility to bring electric vehicles to campus. They developed a ten-year financial road map utilizing state incentives, timing projects, securing funding, and the purchase of electric vehicles. Additionally, the students designed an electric vehicle calculator and a public electric charging station that would be on campus.

“Our research transformed to the heavy lifting of reading through case studies from universities, organizations, cities, and towns that had already made the transition from traditional internal combustion engines to BEV. In addition to case studies, Connecticut’s own Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Eversource and United Illuminating have published thorough infrastructure and funding guides on their websites” explained Pearce. “Using a combination of approaches from these case studies and guides, we defined our approach. We began gathering our own data around campus. Without direct access to the University fleet, we took on a gorilla style of data gathering by surveying parking lots and garages for numbered fleet vehicles. From this we built our sample Fairfield Fleet, and now had a theoretical framework to work from.”

Through the Campus Sustainability Plan, Fairfield University strives to reduce fleet fuel usage by 20 percent by 2025. With the projections from Stag Solar research, the students project the University to hit that target and reduce fuel costs by 73 percent over the next ten years.  

The graduate students propose a 55KW solar panel installation capable of powering 50 service vehicles, which would save the University an estimated $59,000 annually in gasoline and an ROI of five years. After five years, the system would generate $29,000 a year by supplying our own supply grid power.

“This was an excellent capstone project developed by an exceptional team. The subject of fleet conversions to EV is highly relevant and timely, and is occurring real-time on a national level,” said advisor and lecturer Adrian Van der Kroef, MS. “The team did an excellent job identifying the vehicle availability roadmap and constructing a configurable model for financial analysis, indicating positive return on investment. Advising this team for the past year has been highly engaging and personally enlightening.”

Fairfield’s master of science in the Management of Technology program prepares managers and leaders to apply the technical, financial, entrepreneurial, and management skills relevant to a competitive global environment. Graduates translate technology into business actions and implement solutions for today’s global economy. Visit the website to learn more about the program.

Tags:  School of Engineering


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