New Solar Energy Installation Coming Summer 2014
This summer, the University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia College’s fourth solar-photovoltaic array will be installed on the LB2 building. Along with $100,000 each in matching funds from UW Bothell and Cascadia, the campus has won a $553,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce. This exciting new installation will have an installed capacity of 99.84 kilowatts, significantly reducing the electricity usage of the building and nearly tripling the amount of solar-pv on campus.
In 2013, the WA State legislature allocated $25 million for energy efficiency and solar grants for higher education, local government, and state agency buildings. Amongst the $14 million in grants awarded across 45 recipients in the state this year, UW Bothell / Cascadia received the single largest award, ultimately leading to what will be one of the largest solar energy installations on any state owned building across Washington.
In alignment with the goals of the WA State Department of Commerce Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants program, we will be using entirely made-in-Washington modules and inverters, the core components of solar-photovoltaic systems. This ensures that the funds invested in this project go toward building a stronger local economy, and help to establish the burgeoning solar production industry in the state. Not only will this project drive energy and greenhouse gas reductions here on campus, but it will help create sustainable, living-wage jobs in our region.
The project will reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of campus by nearly 100,000 pounds of CO2 annually, taking us closer to the greenhouse gas reduction goals laid out in the UW Climate Action Plan, as well as those mandated by the WA State Legislature. It will also be another opportunity to use our campus as a living laboratory. Once installed, it will be tied into our campus-wide energy and resource monitoring system. Students will be able to compare real-time data on electricity production of all 4 solar-pv projects, view comparative analytics, and export data for various analysis projects.
This is not the first time UW Bothell and Cascadia College have teamed up with the WA State Department of Commerce. In 2010, as part of a Dept. of Commerce funded $2.2 million energy saving project on campus, two parking garage solar arrays were installed, as well as a host of other projects such as HVAC system reprogramming and the installation of electric vehicle charging stations. That project resulted in annual savings of nearly $200,000 based on utility costs avoided. We are excited to participate in this year's grant cycle, and once more, showcase our commitment to environmental sustainability here at UW Bothell and Cascadia College.
Construction will likely begin in mid to late-summer, with the project coming online in time for the beginning of fall quarter. We will continue to update this news feed as the project progresses.