By Mike Sloan
The University of Delaware (UD) Class of 2009 made its parting gift one intended for the future by earmarking it for solar projects on the Newark campus. Long a pioneer in the field of photovoltaics, UD supports a wide range of research both technical and in energy policy, and this class gift is in keeping with the University’s Path to Prominence Initiative for the Planet and its ongoing efforts to become ‘The Green University’. The result is an 850 kW solar electricity system at the UD Field House and 2 other locations on the campus that will cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 906 tons annually, providing a long-term visual reminder of the university’s commitment to sustainable energy.
UD wanted to construct a significant electricity-generating solar PV system, but was limited by the capital outlay of such a large installation. Standard Solar was selected because they offered a turnkey solution including finance, design, construction, operations and maintenance at a cost that was lower than UD’s current electricity rate. Standard Solar designed, installed and will own and maintain the system hosted by UD.
A significant challenge to this project was one of the initial sites chosen, the UD Field House, that features a half barrel-shaped roof. Although the shape of the roof is nearly ideal for solar, the installation of flat solar modules on a rounded roof presented the team with quite a challenge. “To our knowledge, this type of installation had never been done before,” explained Mike Sloan, General Manager of Commercial Business, Standard Solar. It required re-engineering some of the mounting hardware and special safety equipment for the crew, among other things. Standard Solar dove right in and completed the work safely and on budget.
In spite of the challenges, Standard Solar was able to make the vision of the Class of 2009 a reality, providing the financing, creative design and execution of the installation. The UD Field House installation, along with two others, at Clayton Hall on the Laird Campus off Route 896 and at 461 Wyoming Road, will provide UD with clean, sustainable energy at a competitive rate for many years.
UD’s system is expected to generate approximately 1,035 Megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity each year and result in 906 fewer tons of carbon dioxide being emitted annually. The avoided emissions will be the equivalent of reducing the use of 93,363 gallons of gasoline each year. In addition to the financial savings of the deployed PV system, UD will have a future hedge against rising electricity rates.
Mike Sloan, Vice President, Commercial, Standard Solar (www.standardsolar.com) has more than 20 years of experience in managing, developing and fielding commercial electronics systems. He is a former business area manager with Raytheon Corporation managing a fully integrated team focused on U.S. Military command and control products including energy management. Formerly an ISO-9000 auditor and Six Sigma certified, Sloan is holder of 2 patents issued by the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office and has 20+ applications in process.
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