Clean Power Ground-mounted solar panel installation at the University of Colorado Boulder. (Credit: Panasonic Corporation of North America)

Published on January 28th, 2013 | by Mridul Chadha

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Panasonic Commissions 500KW Solar Power Plant At University Of Colorado Boulder

January 28th, 2013 by  

Panasonic Eco Solutions North America has executed a 500kW solar PV plant for the University of Colorado Boulder. The system was developed and built by Panasonic with local support from Lighthouse Solar. Financing was provided by a subsidiary of Renewable Social Benefits Fund, which works with Panasonic to finance distributed generation solar projects in the US and US territories.

Ground-mounted solar panel installation at the University of Colorado Boulder (Credit: Panasonic Corporation of North America)

The power plant will help the university meet its targets of increasing the use renewable energy and eventually becoming carbon neutral. The university plans to reduce energy and water consumption, achieve zero waste, and reduce petroleum consumption under the Colorado Governor’s “Greening of the State Government” executive order. The university has pledged to become carbon neutral under the American College and University President Climate Commitment.

Jamie Evans, Director of Project Finance for Panasonic Eco Solutions North America, expects that the university would reap long-term benefits from the new solar power plant.

The University of Colorado Boulder will benefit from this system solution for years to come in long-term energy cost savings and Panasonic is proud to help the university advance its own forward-thinking environmental and sustainability practices. It’s a comprehensive solution of this nature that Panasonic, in partnership with Coronal Management, is also bringing not only to the educational sector but to both the municipal and social minded corporate sectors as well.

The university has been doing well in keeping a cap, and actually reducing its water and electricity consumption over the past few years. Moe Tabrizi, campus Sustainability Director for CU-Boulder, views the power plant as a major milestone in the university’s commitment towards sustainability.

For more than half a century, CU-Boulder has been a leader in climate and energy research, interdisciplinary environmental studies programs and engaging in sustainability and “green” practices both on campus and in the larger world. This project complements and extends our commitment to leveraging solar power throughout our campus to provide power in a low cost and responsible manner.

Between 2001-02 and 2010-11, the total use of potable water has been reduced by almost 50%. Between the 2009-10 and 2010-11, the total use of potable water fell by 2.1%. The water consumption per unit area fell to about a third in 2010-11 compared to 2001-02. The water consumption per unit area has fallen every year between 2001-02 and 2010-11 except for 2007-08 when it showed a minor increase. 

The electricity use in 2010-11, at almost 132 million kWh, is at its highest over the 10 years between 2001-02 and 2010-11. But so has been the money spent on research. Spending on research had reached $381 million in 2010-11. Electricity consumption per unit area has been on a consistent decline since 2001-02 and 2010-11 and has fallen by almost 21% over this period. 
 
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About the Author

currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.



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