MacEwan University adds solar panels to campus

October 19, 2017 | Campus Life

50 new solar panels are expected to generate renewable energy for the university

SUST_NEWS_SOLAR_PANELS_PICMacEwan University has 50 new solar panels on its roof—a move that will green up the institution’s energy bill.

The Facilities department installed the panels on the south-west facing roof of the Robbins Health Learning Centre over the summer, and on September 15, the panels were officially turned on.

“We want this to be a pilot project for the next phase, so we want to raise the awareness that we’re proceeding with solar and alternative energy,” says Hana Matova, project manager. “It’s really part of our commitment to sustainability and how we do things.”

In order to maximize sun exposure, 30 of the panels face south and 20 face west. They sit on a sloped galvanized steel frame.

“It was quite challenging coming up with a design that would support the winds, the uplift and also the weight of the panels,” says Hana. “We tend to create functional designs with the aim of being energy efficient, decreasing carbon footprint, being sustainable and reducing operating costs where possible.”

She says the project will help reduce the university’s carbon footprint increasing its use of renewable energy.

Each panel is estimated to generate 280 watts of electricity each year. All together, the solar array will generate approximately 16,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy. Hana says that’s equivalent to powering 10 25-station computer labs operating eight hours a day for a year.

The green energy also means an estimated monetary savings of $1,500 annually for the university.

“The electricity is directly going back into our power distribution and will be used to operate the Robbins building,” says Hana.

The panels are part of a pilot project. Hana says the output of the panels will be monitored, and if they’re successful, the green project will be expanded.

“Sustainability has always been the focus,” she says. “This is just another way of diversifying the portfolio.”

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