Campuses across the United States are making big moves to solar technology recently.
North and south, coast to coast, there are plenty examples of academic, institutional and commercial/industrial campuses that are making significant investments in solar technology and it’s paying off!
Some of the reasons for embracing solar? Along with the variety of solar applications today, solar is being used more frequently because:
* Many schools, companies and institutions to be more “environmentally sustainable;”
* Finding creative solutions in the face tight budget constraints; and
* Many state and federal grant and loan programs are help companies offset investment costs
Here’s a small sampling of what is now in place or will be seen at many campuses this fall.
Pathway, Parking and Roadway Lighting
Along with technological improvements that mean better commercial grade solar lamps and solar street lights, campuses Go Green from both a fiscal and an environmental standpoint by the inherent benefits of solar lights.
For example, trenching and adding electrical power source to light long pathways, or roads is expensive. Solar lighting means no electrical costs, metering fee savings, and lower maintenance costs.
Odessa College in Odessa, TX, for example, installed solar lighting so that students could walk to and from classes in greater safety.
Solar lights enhanced lighting significantly and eliminated the need to update antiquated electrical wiring systems.
Lowered construction costs and environmental impacts were mitigated as installing solar eliminated the need for the costly, unattractive and potentially unsafe removal and replacement of sidewalks and other landscaped areas.
Rooftop Solar Panels
The US Department of Energy recently provided the state of Connecticut with half a million dollars to be used specifically to install rooftop solar systems in schools.
The range of schools taking advantage of the grant: local primary schools through various University of Connecticut campuses. Much of the energy generated by the panels will be used by the individual school. Some panels, such as those on local “stand-alone” schools will be shared with other local facilities.
In yet another campus application of solar technology, Cummings Center in Beverly, MA, was recognized for an EPA Energy Star Certified facility.
Though paid for with private funds, the Centers’ owners were recognized for their new solar installation and a variety of energy conservation technologies such as efficient light fixtures, gas burners, and an electric car charging station.”
The 2 million square foot Cummings Center, former headquarters the United Shoe Machinery Corporation (once one of the largest shoe manufacturers in the USA) was completely modernized in the 1990’s.
The owners of the corporate campus for office laboratory and research space are committed to providing tenants with the latest building technology and maintaining an environmentally friendly property footprint.
Whether you’re a school or campus facility manager, a home or business owner, or a property development company, solar offers a wide variety of cost-benefits and environmentally friendly solutions for power and lighting.
And, there’s a quick and easy way to find out whether there are local, state or federal grants available for your projects.
DSIRE, the “Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency,” maintains a continuously updated database of Federal incentives for solar and other renewable energy.
In addition, DSIRE maintains a comprehensive inventory of grants, loans and incentives available by state, municipalities and geographic regions such as counties. All information is available for free at http://www.dsireusa.org.
“Going Green” with solar doesn’t just mean being environmentally responsible: it also can mean cost savings during the construction and lifetime of various applications.
Sources include: Wall Street Journal Market Watch, June 9, 2012, and
DSIRE, Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
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