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University Of Colorado Doubles Down On Solar

CU-Boulder has installed a new solar panel array that now doubles campus solar electricity production.

The new 500-kilowatt solar panel system will generate 725,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to power about 100 average houses.

The system isn't just the first ground-mounted solar panel array for the University; it's the largest on campus and one of the largest capacity ground-mounted arrays in Boulder.

Other University systems are located at 10 locations on campus, with the collective 1GW capacity enough to power 200 homes.

"This project complements and extends our commitment to leveraging solar energy throughout campus to provide power in a low-cost and responsible manner," said Moe Tabrizi, CU-Boulder campus sustainability director.

The new system was designed and constructed by Panasonic Eco Solutions North America with support from local provider, Lighthouse Solar.

The University of Colorado Boulder was one of the original signatories to the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). CU-Boulder states it has reduced total energy use by 20 percent and stabilized carbon emissions compared to 2005 levels, even though the campus has grown by 25 percent since that time.

Data centers at the University are one of the most energy-intensive areas on campus, costing around $500,000/yr to operate. Aside from using solar to help offset some of these costs, a plan is being developed to consolidate these centers into three buildings on campus; which will provide an opportunity to recover the significant amount heat produced by the servers and transfer this heat to other areas where it can be used.

Among its many energy efficiency initiatives, the institution has gone as far as conducting a helicopter mission that produced thermal images of each roof top on CU-Boulder's three campuses, allowing thermally conductive roofs with compromised insulation to be identified.

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