Kent State University in Ohio starts adding solar projects to all six local universities

Nov 23, 2020 04:52 PM ET
  • Ohio's Kent State University is in the procedure of adding solar projects to all 6 of its local universities by springtime 2021. Melink Solar is setting up panels at the Geauga Campus in Burton, Ohio, while TEN-NINE Energy is the creating the project. The ground-mounted solar photovoltaic or pv panels will certainly offer 322 kW of solar energy yearly, offering 67% of the university' energy usage.
Kent State University in Ohio starts adding solar projects to all six local universities
Image: Bob Misbrener

Solar panel structure posts were set in very early November and panels are currently being set up. The solar array will cover 1.27 acres along Claridon-Troy Rd., attached to the Kent State Geauga class structure.

Expense financial savings the very first year are approximated to be $3,200, claimed Bob Misbrener, project supervisor II of sustainability, power conservation & appointing in the Office of the University Architect at the Kent Campus. He also estimates that expense savings over the next 25 years should be $138,682 to $242,339.

Misbrener described that this innovative Power Purchase Contract calls for $0 out-of-pocket cost to Kent State.

" We are required to purchase all solar energy created at a bargained price over the following 25 years," he proceeded. The discussed rate includes a minimal cost savings of 1.5 cents per kWh throughout the contract. "For Geauga Campus, that translates to minimum financial savings of $140,000. Total financial savings whatsoever 6 participating local campuses: $1,570,000!".

The price of solar energy has visited virtually 70% in the past decade, Misbrener explains. "Solar panel effectiveness is likewise constantly enhancing, in addition to battery storage.".

The Geauga solar array represents concerning 9% of the total amount of solar panels being set up whatsoever six Kent State universities. Similar projects are underway at Ashtabula (68% university use); East Liverpool (12% school); Salem (73% university use); Stark (7% university usage); Trumbull (65% school usage).

In contrast to prominent presumptions that cloudy northeast Ohio is an inadequate place for solar power, Misbrener clarified that solar power collection is in fact rather efficient right here.

" Our location estimates a similar latitude as Germany, which has been amongst the globe's top PV installers for several years. Real experience with tidy solar energy on our Kent Campus Field House roof covering because July 2012 has verified the efficiency. That project designer anticipated 500,000 kWh manufacturing annually. The system has a little exceeded that quantity every year! Kent State bought that system from the developer early this year with repayment expected within concerning seven years. Furthermore, given that we do usually receive ample rainfall, the panels remain reasonably tidy, which also positively impacts production.".

Because Geauga and also the various other regional school projects do not consist of battery storage space, they need to stay linked to the utility grid for the near future. "However, on a yearly basis, the Geauga solar array will create concerning 67% of the total electrical energy required!" Misbrener emphasizes. "In my point of view, that is quite exciting!".

As a corresponding enhancement, pollinator pasture flowers will be grown throughout the solar array, generating both an all-natural charm and also a refuge for native honeybees, butterflies and also various other pollinators that will certainly help bring back balance to the community. This area of native seasonal plants has the prospective to come to be a living lab for more ecological, biological as well as herb research.

With 81 prairie plant varieties offered, they likewise offer sustainability advantages to help the planetary system operate efficiently. The deep roots of meadow plants advertise adsorption of rainwater and cool down the ground, aiding the solar panels to run extra successfully.

Generally, Misbrener indicates that taking on solar power is a growing fad among university universities, but Kent State has actually differentiated itself as a leader.

" The 2012 Field House array was believed to be the largest at an Ohio university at 463 kWDC back then," Misbrener clarifies. "We are in great business: University of Akron, University of Dayton, Ohio Northern University, Case Western Reserve University, to name just a couple of.".

When it concerns environment-friendly power, Geauga Campus additionally operates a small wind turbine that has supplied enough power to light the LED parking area and also driveway for the past 8 years.

" Kent Campus is fortunate to have forward-thinking and also climate-conscious leadership to sustain affordable renewable resource and also efficiency projects," Misbrener stated. "Solar selections are a really efficient and visible means to demonstrate our dedication to the atmosphere. The decrease in power plant exhausts will absolutely enhance air top quality and decrease some health issues from the air we all take a breath.".