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WSU Davis solar panels set to save the school money
by Tom Busselberg
Sep 02, 2011 | 2508 views | 0 0 comments | 321 321 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LAYTON — Weber State University Davis is sporting a new look – and it has nothing to do with a new mascot or remodeling.

The look is visible only from the air, with a major solar panel installation put into place, and up and running at the Layton campus since early July.

The university’s Ogden campus is due to complete two more such installations, expected to be operational by month’s end.

An annual savings of $4,000 is already being realized, says Jennifer Bodine, WSU sustainability specialist.

That’s thanks to several grants totaling $136,000 which made the project possible, she says.

Rocky Mountain Power, through its Blue Sky alternative energy program, gave $71,000. Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds of $65,000 covered the rest of the cost, Bodine says.

Harnessing the power of the sun meant investing only a few weeks for installation of the panels, she says.

The Davis campus configuration includes four racks holding a total of 84 solar panels. They’re on the northeast corner of the building, and it’s estimated the 20-kilowatt photo voltaic system will offset about 1.9 percent of the building’s electrical consumption, the university says.

“After one year of productivity the solar panels are estimated to save $4,000, which equals about 32,954 kilowatt-hours of energy,” Bodine says.

The Ogden panels will be installed on the Shepherd Union Building roof. It’s estimated about 5 percent of the building’s electrical system will be offset, saving about $7,500 annually.

That site will feature an outdoor, solar-powered water feature located near the newly-constructed pavilion on the student center’s south exterior. The fountain will be controlled by a hands-on solar panel, which will allow students and visitors to see how blocking sunlight impacts power output, the provided material says.

Other solar systems are in the works for the Swenson Gym pool, expected to save $7,000 to $10,000 yearly, and the first residence hall in Wildcat Village.

WSU is also investing $9 million in energy efficiency, says Jacob Cain, energy and sustainability manager. Last year, $572,000 was saved, with a goal of saving $800,000 to $900,000 annually, he said.
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