Renewables

Solar helps University of Virginia save USD 1 million annually – find out how

Photo: UVA

Published

November 2, 2018

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Published:

November 2, 2018

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The University of Virginia (UVA) has saved USD 1 million per year by using solar power from 1,000 solar panels installed on the roofs of the university, US portals reported, noting that the school is involved in several solar projects with private companies.

All of this makes the UVA a leader among high education institutions when it comes to renewable energy and sustainability.

The UVA says the solar panels help it break dependence on fossil fuels.

“At the University of Virginia, we’ve got about 600,000 watts of solar panels on our roofs,” Jesse Warren, the sustainability program manager for buildings and operations at the UVA, said, NBC29.com reported.

Some of the power goes back to the grid through a partnership with Dominion Energy, and some of it goes back to taking university buildings off the grid.

“The solar power that we own and operate on grounds can power about 100 households,” Warren said.

Clean energy helps the UVA move towards cleaner options for how it generates and acquires own energy. It reduces the UVA’s nitrogen impact, carbon impact, and brings other benefits.

Warren said that the UVA is different from the other schools because of the method it uses to develop and prepare solar sites.

“Here in facilities management, we’ve got great information about all of our buildings and all of our rooftops,” he said, adding that facilities management has partnered with an environmental engineering class to help identify which rooftops are ideal for solar panels.

UVA Hollyfield Solar facility starts production

The UVA is continuing to bear fruits of its efforts to go green. Two months ago, the UVA Hollyfield Solar facility started power generation which will be delivered to the UVA and the Darden School of Business.

The project is a partnership between these two schools and Dominion Energy.

Under the agreement reached last year, the University and Darden are purchasing the entire output of electricity produced at the 160-acre solar facility in King William County for the next 25 years, the UVA news portal reported.

It is expected to generate 17 MWh of electricity.

The University also has contracted, under a 25-year agreement, to purchase the output of Dominion Energy’s Puller Solar facility, a 120-acre solar farm in Middlesex County that will feature approximately 58,800 panels, enough to power about 3,750 homes at peak output.

The facility is scheduled to be online in November and is expected to generate 15 MWh which will cover 9% of the University’s power consumption.

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