Campus Photo

New Solar PV Installations on Campus

CU-Boulder broke traditional barriers to allow the university to install PV panels on three buildings, Coors Events Center, Housing Maintenance Center and Wolf Law, at no cost to the university. Moe Tabrizi, energy conservation officer, worked out a way where the university received what they need, more energy savings, in a tough economy, by partnering with a local financial group to pay for the upfront costs of the project.

PV installation on Coors Event Center

Rockwell Financial Group is paying for the project, and technically owns the project, while CU-Boulder gets the benefit of reducing our carbon footprint and working towards our goal of a 20% energy reduction by 2012. (In line with our Carbon Plan and the Governor’s Executive Orders.) The partnership is a win-win situation, Rockwell benefits by receiving $2/W rebate for installing PV, accelerated depreciation charges, tax credits, and Xcel energy incentives of 11.5 cents/kW. At the end of 7 years, CU-Boulder has the opportunity to buy the technology from the financial company at a fraction of the cost, at this time the university would receive the benefits listed above.

PV installation on Housing Maintenance Center

The 472 panels create about 140,000 kWh/year, which is enough energy to power 20 regular sized homes. The project includes:

  • Coors Events Center: 210 panels, 44 kW, 61,600 kwh/year
    • Coors uses approximately 1 million kwh/year, which means the PV panels provide 6% of the energy for the building
  • Housing Maintenance Center: 210 panels, 44 kW, 61,600 kwh/year
    • Housing Maintenance Center uses approximately 350,000 kwh/year, which means the PV panels provide 18% of the energy for the building
  • Wolf Law: 52 panels, 11 kW, 15,400 kwh/year
  • Bella Energy is the local design and installation team
  • The PV panel manufacturer is Suntech-Power, based out of China
  • The installation was completed in 8 days in sub-zero temperatures
  • J.P. Robb, CU project manager, worked extensively to find a contractor who understood what CU was trying to achieve, as well as the importance of reducing our carbon footprint
  • The project demands the expertise of Joe Branchaw, electrical engineer, and John Akins, civil engineer, to ensure the installation is robust enough to meet the campus needs

Moe Tabrizi’s ultimate goal is to have PVs on every flat roof on campus, Xcel has limitations to how many rebates and incentives one entity can receive, however he is working diligently to find different solutions and work with Xcel on our options.

For More Information:

Megan Rose, Megan.Rose@colorado.edu, 303.492.8687

Moe Tabrizi, Moe.Tabrizi@colorado.edu, 303.492.1425