2015 Tutu Fellow Wiebe Boer PhD started as President of Calvin University - his Alma Mater - on 1 July 2022, and within a week, the university had signed a commitment to accelerate its transition to renewable energy. Prior to accepting the presidency of the university, Wiebe was the CEO of All On, an off-grid energy impact investment fund for Nigeria seeded by Shell.
With his expertise in the energy sector, Wiebe also serves on the UN Technical Working Group 5: Finance and Investment Board. Calvin University is making history in Michigan by becoming the first university in the state to pursue solar-as-a-service as an approach to accelerating the energy transition.
The VP of Administration, Tim Fennema, signed an Memorandum of Understanding with Sun FundED to begin an evaluation. Sun FundED exclusively serves education institutions and has been working with public schools in Michigan and Indiana as well as universities in Indiana and Florida in recent years. Solar-as-a-Service should make solar energy use easier for educational institutions as a way to cut operating expenses, mitigate risks, while supporting sustainability. Wiebe's predecessor had made a climate Commitment in 2017 for the university to become carbon neutral by 2057.
Sun FundED’s Solar-as-a-Service model provides technical expertise to help the university qualify for the company to invest, build, and operate a solar array without Calvin incurring the capital cost for the project, using a pay-as-you-go model. The MOU should enable the university to lower and lock in a rate for its utilities long-term, avoiding cost-plus-inflation.
Fennema said that the MOU will help implement that vision and communicates Calvin’s long-held value of caring for creation. Founded in 1876, Calvin University is a top-ranked, liberal arts Christian university serving around 3,300 students.
You can read more about Wiebe's appointment to the presidency of Calvin here, and about the renewable energy project at the Calvin University website.